Truth in Humor
With the warnings about our culture's lack of empathy, attention span, lack of research skills and desire for depth having reached a near cacophonous pitch, there are some powerful initiatives schools can implement to counter-balance this trend.
Some of the afore-mentioned concerns arise from the lack of opportunity students have in most classrooms to engage in a good debate, at least in this writer's opinion. It's hard to "hide" essential communication skills in a format geared for thinking and speaking on the fly. Plus, students will learn what due diligence is really all about -- how and why research and analysis prior to the debate may save their hides (both meanings intended) more often than not, as well as lending them more opportunities to shine.
"Is Shakespeare relevant?" would be a topic that would be most difficult for a student adept at counting on Cliff Notes' "cram" sessions for prep work. Plus, by switching students to present the side they least agree with is one of the great standard debating tricks that teaches empathy. (If only Congress could try it for a day).
Why are debating teams and clubs in so few schools? And, why are they often viewed as "for nerds" except perhaps in tony private schools where there is a tradition of debate?
More importantly, why is "debating" usually a club or a team that attract those usually good at this type of venue, rather than making this a part of the usual expectation of education?
Check out the Two Minute Video Below - it's a lot of fun.
By Ronnie Bruce, film student at Temple University