Debate: A Great Tool for Learning I Oxford Open Learning

Debate: A Great Tool for Learning

Want to improve your grades and learn more about your subject? Well, debating with your peers, family and friends, or tutors and teachers is a highly effective means of heightening your academic success. You can do this around the dinner table, over coffee, and in online forums and social media groups. Taking time to discuss your studies doesn’t just help you to get better results in coursework and exams; it also makes learning much more fun! Here, we explore the key benefits of debating as a tool for learning…

1. Reinforcement

Talking about the topic you have been reading and writing about reinforces what you’ve learned. Discussing important facts, quotes and other pertinent details allows you to retain all that information much more easily than with solo study alone. Debate helps to make information much more memorable, which can be a major advantage when it comes to exam success.

2. Learn new things

Debating your subject area with others means that you are likely to acquire new information, facts, figures, quotations and so on. This will allow you to gain a much more extensive understanding of your subject, increasing confidence in your work and pushing your grades up. Discussion also helps you to gain new perspectives on your studies. By listening to the thoughts of others, you learn about different viewpoints and means of interpreting the facts.

3. Develop your evaluative skills

Discussing your topic in detail develops your ability to assess all the relevant information and compile work that demonstrates a comprehensive appreciation of the subject. Evaluative skills are the key to academic success, and they are also vital for the development of a great professional career.

4. Be an active learner

Engaging in debate with your classmates allows you to be an active participant in your own learning. This is especially important if you are not naturally academic, or if you are returning to education after a break. Instead of passively absorbing information, discuss what you’ve learned to bring it alive and make it relevant to you and your peers.

5. Prepare for your future

Regularly engaging in discussion and debate with other students, teachers, family or friends helps to develop your presentation skills. The ability to speak up in front of a group; to articulate clearly; to present a reasoned argument; and to respond to the ideas and thoughts of others in a mature manner are all highly valuable attributes. If you have these attributes, you are much more likely to be successful at university and in a professional career.

Debating makes learning more fun, develops your understanding of your subject, and helps you to acquire skills that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. It doesn’t have to be formally set up, and there are lots of ways to get started. Why not set up a group online, or start chatting to people at home or in class? You might be surprised at how much you learn!

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I'm a former English teacher and private tutor who is passionate about education. I've been writing professionally for the past three years and have written educational worksheets for use in schools as well as contributing to an educational journal. I've also written on every other topic under the sun!

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