Debate as Curricular, not Extracurricular

This video was shared with me by one of my debate camp alumni. It reminds me of the importance of academic debate in a young person’s development. It also reminds me of the radical educational shift that is going on in today’s world.

See, traditional academics view debate as an “extra”-curricular activity. I’ve always seen that as unfortunate, and in a way unfair. This activity alone teaches you how to think. Not what to think, but how to think. There’s a big difference.

There are a growing number of educators (I’m one of them) who believe we need to rethink how we bring up the next generation. In fact, people like Seth Godin (see this video here) are making the strong case that the world demands a new kind of adult today. Rather than 9-5 workers who must obey and perform, the modern world requires leaders and thinkers who will engage in a greater community of tribes.

Really, this is a fascinating time in education. I believe debate plays a significant role in it. What used to be a nerdy, difficult, and boring extracurricular activity is now becoming the intense and rewarding curricular activity that students love.

Question: Do you have a positive or negative view of debate? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section.