Tradition, Advocacy, Innovation

You Cant Throw A Stick….

Posted on June 6th, by Sarah Spring in Alumni, Debate Pedagogy. Comments Off on You Cant Throw A Stick….

And not hit a debater at the Harris County courthouse…

The title of this post was inspired by a 2007 Houston Chronicle Op-Ed by two UH Debate Alums, Ron Bankston & Barbara Radnofsky.

Debate is preparation for life. Not much more evidence is needed than this 1971 UH policy debate yearbook photo. Check out the interactive version here.

While debate does prepare many undergraduates for law school, the reach of its metaphorical “stick” goes much further.

Yes, UH alums are successful lawyers, honorable judges and mediators, but UH Debate alums, in particular, have excelled in fields outside of the law.  Debate coaches, professors, medical ethicists and on and on.

One goal of this blog is to showcase the accomplishments of these alumni, so stay tuned.

I’ll leave you with the wisdom of UH Debate Alum Linda Listrom – executive director of the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues – on the subject of debate’s value to the 21st century curriculum:

Debate Prepares Students for 21st Century Careers. To compete effectively in the global economy, first century workers will need to master four important skills, sometimes called the “4 C’s”: (1) critical thinking and problem solving; (2) communication; (3) collaboration; and (4) creativity and innovation. Urban debate teaches all of these skills.

Debaters learn to think critically. They learn how to analyze arguments, finding strengths and weaknesses, and how to construct their own arguments, supported with evidence.

Debaters learn to communicate effectively. To win, debaters must be able to communicate their arguments clearly and persuasively to judges with differing backgrounds and perspectives—teachers, parents, college students and community leaders.

Debaters learn to be creative. They quickly discover that they cannot win debates by borrowing arguments from newspapers and magazines. Instead, they must be creative and develop their own unique arguments.

Debaters learn to collaborate. They work in teams, under the guidance of a teacher-coach, sharing ideas, arguments and evidence with their teammates.

Urban debate prepares students for twenty-first century careers. Urban debate alums have established successful careers in many fields, including: medicine, education, government, law, and business.


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