ERIC Number: EJ1110691
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Speech and Debate as Civic Education
Hogan, J. Michael; Kurr, Jeffrey A.; Johnson, Jeremy D.; Bergmaier, Michael J.
Communication Education, v65 n4 p377-381 2016
In light of the U.S. Senate's designation of March 15, 2016 as "National Speech and Debate Education Day" (S. Res. 398, 2016), it only seems fitting that "Communication Education" devote a special section to the role of speech and debate in civic education. Speech and debate have been at the heart of the communication discipline in the U.S. since a group of speech professors broke free from English departments to form the National Association of Academic Teachers of Public Speaking in 1914 (Gehrke & Keith 2014). Long before that, a rhetorical tradition dating back to the ancients emphasized training in speech and debate as essential to education for citizenship in a democracy. Therefore, leading scholars, teachers, coaches, and program administrators in speech and debate were invited to a conference presented by the Center for Democratic Deliberation, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Communication Association, to reflect on challenges, trends, and opportunities in civic education. The audience of communication scholars agreed that speech and debate education benefits students in many ways; for example: (1) teaching students not only to be better speakers and critical listeners, but also to be more informed, engaged, and responsible citizens; (2) by studying speech and debate, students develop a keen appreciation for solid research, well-reasoned arguments, and effective delivery; (3) students who study speech and debate develop a better understanding of the rights and responsibilities of free speech, and they become more attuned to the threats to our democracy posed by propaganda and demagoguery; and (4) students learn how to solve problems collaboratively, and they develop a better appreciation for the diversity of perspectives and opinions in our complex, multicultural society.
Descriptors: Public Speaking, Debate, Civics, Citizenship Education, Conferences (Gatherings), Educational Benefits, Listening Skills, Critical Thinking, Research Skills, Persuasive Discourse, Freedom of Speech, Democracy, Problem Solving, Perspective Taking, Trend Analysis, Service Learning, Politics, Common Core State Standards, Competency Based Education, Secondary Education, Higher Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
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