The importance of public speaking and debate | BSS

Oral expression and linguistic skills are the very foundations of education in all fields right from the first years of schooling. Learning to speak well is a priority at school, but this also becomes an essential skill in all aspects of our daily lives. In other words, not only is it the basis of education, but also the key to building positive relationships.

At the Best Schools in Spain, we have always worked on oral expression in linguistic subjects, but in recent years we have structured this aspect and included it in all subjects of the curriculum. How do we put this into practise? Students must orally present their work in all subjects, answer questions from their classmates and defend their ideas. They also have the chance to take part in a variety of initiatives that reward public speaking such as debate leagues, the Model European Parliament or the European Youth Parliament. With this type of initiatives — that have the support and involvement of the Best Schools in Spain — students learn to work in a team, reason, debate and communicate their ideas. They undoubtedly contribute towards their personal development.

Debate: a source of motivation for young people

Debate awakens young people’s curiosity and interest in a wide variety of topics. At the Best Schools in Spain we teach students how to debate, understanding this task as a process composed of several steps. First of all, they investigate and find out all the details of the topic at hand. Then, they analyse the situation in depth in order to, lastly, develop their arguments. Throughout the entire process they learn how to listen, present their ideas clearly and assess the arguments of others.

And in their personal lives? A person that is able to express their emotions, feelings and worries clearly is destined for personal success. At the Best Schools in Spain, we work to ensure that students can use language correctly and apply it with the intention of projecting the best possible image of themselves, a skill that will guide them to success in every step they take.

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A tool to help improve society

What do we achieve by working on public speaking? First and foremost, our students are well informed about current events both locally and globally, and they acquire values and develop their ability to help improve the world we live in, within a context of respect and tolerance for others.

For example, several roles are established within the debate teams that allow the students to display the following skills:

  • Rhetoric: the art of speaking elegantly.
  • Eloquence: the art of speaking correctly and effectively.
  • Antilogic: mastery of the thesis and antithesis of the subjects under debate
  • Eristic: the art of arguing.

And all while debating current political, moral or even legal topics. The students’ mastery of the spoken language is just as important as their body language. This refers to what they say with their eyes, gestures or interpersonal distance. They learn to better project their thoughts, and this is an important life lesson.

Therefore, through public speaking we encourage integral education as a process that does not end with the pre-university leagues that we encourage and prepare our student to take part in, but rather that continues throughout their university years and stays with them their whole lives. This is possible as, by investigating topics of national and international importance and analysing them from different points of view, students are able to let go of their initial prejudices and gain a rounded view of reality, making them grow as responsible and supportive human beings.

In a wider sense, this is a decisive aspect to ensure we can continue to live and exist together peacefully in the future, because if we project this sense of individual responsibility onto society as a whole, we can make the world we live in a better place.

Finally, one of the most important contributions of debates is education in values, as they allow us to reach a consensus by encouraging a climate of respect and tolerance.

In short, if all members of a team work together and cooperate thanks to good communication, this can only lead to one thing: collective enrichment.

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