Debating is something which is fast becoming a dying art and we now live in a world which is full of people with complaint but without any real rationale or thought process behind having an actual debate. It often seems that people like to tell the world what they think and if there is any retaliation they begin to make it personal. It is for this reason that I consider myself very lucky to have been taught by university professor and someone who was always keen for us to debate a wide range of topics. Like myself Andrew was from New Haven, Hartford, CT and in a place like that you need to have your wits about you, probably why he was a great debater. I may not have appreciated it at the time but what Andrew Curran showed us in debating, set us up very well for life.
For Andrew Curran Wesleyan students all had outstanding potential and he would work very hard with us to help us realize that potential. One thing which debating always did was to help you become more confident and whether discussing a lawsuit or a topic such as abortion, standing up in front of your peers and arguing is something which will give you a great deal of confidence.
It is now much clearer to me that what Andrew was seeking to achieve through the numerous debates which we had was to help us to understand how to view an argument from all sides. If you are arguing for example that email is responsible for the poor level of handwriting in today’s world, you need to understand the argument against, so that you can prepare a rebuttal. Once you are able to understand another side to an argument you can form opinions far easier and it actually breeds empathy in you as well.
Not everyone feels naturally confident when speaking in public but there are a great many jobs in which it is absolutely necessary, no less than working in the legal system. This is often why Andrew would have us debate in front of everyone and in doing so we would learn an awful lot about body language, rhythm of voice, tone, annunciation and even down to the pauses which we would take. This experience certainly helped us all to feel more confident when speaking in public.
Losing and Winning
Losing and winning in sport is very different from losing and winning in a debate and you must learn how to do both with dignity and with class. Losing an argument is almost more frustrating than losing anything else, especially when you remember points at a later date which you wanted to have made. All of this however is part of the learning and as you debate more and more, you begin to find the ways in which to win.
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