Urgency of Implementing Debate in Education Empowerment


I praise and thank God the Creator and Almighty for granting me the chance to know and experience debate as the it helps me a lot in navigating through the process of education (debate has helped me to improve my study, stimulate my eagerness to read and be critical of knowledge / information), hone my hard and soft skills that make me grow in confidence to excel in what I want / need to do, and allow me to know more about dynamic of life, world, and human so that I may know my place on this planet (sounds too abstract, but this is how I feel and I cannot describe it better).

And I believe that debate has also brought significant benefits to other people that decide to be involved in it. There are lots of testimonies out there from aspiring debaters, to politicians highlighting how debate helps them a lot.

Debate has special ways to educate people in comprehensive and thematic fashion; therefore it deserves a respectable place at the heart of our education activity in learning institutions.

Education is an activity that drives learners to acquire knowledge that may be used for particular purpose in accordance to the learner’s intentions, whether for job related purpose, to get wisdom, etc.

There are 2 aspects that are will be highlighted here:

  1. The quantity and depth of the knowledge’s content, and
  2. The effectiveness / efficiency of engagement to deliver the knowledge (by teaching and discourse).

If knowledge is important and education is one of the essential ways to acquire the former, then the later is supposed to be important and enjoyable by people. However, that is often not the case because many have questioned whether education has become disengaged from real life activities and that it no longer equips learners to adapt with real life demands.

More specifically, our education is deemed to emphasize too much on uninspiring theoretical aspects of knowledge rather than effective practicality and that people now think that the theories are no longer important, which I find it absurd because both theory and practicality need and complement one another (without theory, you will have little idea of what you are doing and that one will not know of ethics and moral implications of their activities, and on the other side, in order to make sense and purpose of knowledge then one will also need practicality).

Those concerns are indeed valid because our education has become very rigid due to the fact that it is based on the idea of achieving minimal standard imposed in curriculum and that it does not emphasize (or tried to but not informative) on critical study.

Grade is more important than the maturity of knowledge and the means to achieve it. And the idea of separating, or even discriminating and favoring certain disciplines contribute to the degradation of education because knowledge are correlated and that correlation empowers real life information and practicality (ex: some people favor scientific studies and disregard social studies.

This is unwise. To be brilliant in science, it is also important to know how your creativity shapes, influence, and impact society). Separated disciplines do not make any sense because disciplines are not intended to function alone in human activities.

This situation also affects our educators because they are shaped by the demand of the curriculum. They teach to implement the curriculum. The problematic curriculum creates teachers that are only looking forward to teach the limited discipline that they have learnt and will have a hard time inspiring students to learn further because of their rigid knowledge as the effect on the absence of multi disciplinary education.

Teachers will only be “grade sitter” because the teach students only to fulfill the standard of the rigid curriculum without emphasizing the depth and maturity of knowledge, moreover its connection to real life situation, toward students.

Where does this lead into?

The absence of comprehensive, thematic, and multi discipline education makes education itself less relevant to student because rigid discipline does not reflect the dynamic of real life situation as what multidiscipline education will do.

Students will be less prepared to face and adapt with real life situation, and that teachers’ ability to educate will be castrated only to implement uninspiring curriculum and limit the teachers’ needs to learn further.

Education has lost its purpose to provide meaningful knowledge so that people can live and contribute in society because it is disconnected from the vibrant life of society.

We should encourage the rise of multi-discipline approach to education that will be more relevant to our real life activities. We should encourage students to learn and teachers to teach multidisciplinary education.

And debate is a great catalyst and means to achieve it. Why?

Because debate is a form of multi-discipline approach to education since in debate we need to learn many sorts of subjects and correlate those subjects in real life scenario. We try to see and make sense of our real life environment in debate by incorporating multi-discipline learning.

We also need to asses that knowledge critically and in comparison. So debate is not limited to the idea of arguing in tourneys. Its essence is also about how we process knowledge and make sense of it, especially in relation to real life situation. That is what multidisciplinary education tries to do.

To achieve that, we must not depend solely on establishing debate club. Well, it is a good start and intention, but not good enough, because not everyone will participate in the club; moreover it is doubtful that a debate club can manage to handle all students in a learning institution.

Merely focusing in the establishment and development of debate club will only make the benefit of debate and multi-discipline learning exclusive only to handful of people. We must not see debate only as a means to participate, win tourney, and set a spotlight for school, and to see that debate only is a matter of personal development, because debate has a bigger role to play in improving education and people that are involved in, and that the benefits of debate should be able to be accessed by learners in general.

The essence of debate can be incorporated into education curriculum by designing one that promotes the idea of multidisciplinary learning by evaluating the connections of various disciplines and crystallize it into learning competence.

The curriculum should also emphasize grading to be based more on the critical ability of students rather that the minimum type and amount of knowledge students learn in complement of multi-discipline study.

Or to the very least when curriculum is still rigid; teachers should guide and encourage students to think critically by initiating, and implementing multi-discipline approach to their studies while also fulfilling the minimum requirements of the curriculum.

Schools also should encourage the growth of debate club to help students in engaging with other learners outside of their institution to allow the exchange of thoughts as that is also part of multidisciplinary learning and to teach students how one’s mindset, ideas, and action can engage with people that are different as in real life.

And the last but not least, learning institutions should encourage and even aid their educators to pursue higher education and learn debate because teachers may be good at teaching a particular subject that they are specialized at, but they may not have the necessary capacity to engage and teach other disciplines as what is required in multi-discipline learning.

Many teachers quit teaching because schools hamper their need to learn higher education due to time constraint and demands from duty. Schools should be willing to spend for upgrading their educators in order to improve the quality of education in their institution, not just collecting money from students.

A rigid education does not provide the necessary knowledge for students to be part of dynamic societal life and only gives burden for students to worry about grades per se, therefore creating abyss between students, education, and real life.

Multidisciplinary education is the key to provide knowledge and stable bridge for students to contribute and be part of dynamic real life and activities. To achieve such education, we present to you a way to do that, debate.

And what is mean as debate is not exclusively about verbal argumentation. It is also about learning multi-discipline and developing critical thinking, assess and evaluate information and relates it to real life scenario.

So you can even debate by just writing, reading, or thinking, without speaking, though eventually exchange discourse should also be encouraged.

Debate! Debate! Debate!