Debating seems common in our daily lives – you discuss social issues with friends, argue about an NBA game, and haggle to get a good deal on your new laptop. But when it comes to English debating, things are different.
The Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press launched the 16th national English debating competition this year, attracting over 10,000 students.
Experts say that debating is good for developing logical thinking。
“In an era of entertainment culture, we need debating competitions to help more students pay attention to social issues,” said Du Huiliang, deputy director of the college department in the Central Committee of the Young Communist League.
“By debating, students learn the truth about society and the right social and personal values.”
Logical thinking and presenting arguments are more important than a beautiful accent when speaking English. So students have created ways to practice their powers of analysis and logical thinking.
Fang Shuqiong, 22, a senior majoring in English at Xiamen University, likes role playing while practicing her debating skills with teammates.
“We play different roles including Prime Minister and Deputy PM every night. We select subjects for debate from past competitions and TOEFL compositions,” said Fang.
Apart from inviting a foreign tutor, the team enjoys brainstorming various issues from loser culture to dating shows. Everyone tries to make impromptu speeches about these topics, which Fang says is helpful and fun.
“It really improved my logical thinking,” said Fang.
To expand your mind it is good to communicate with more people. Rao Qionglei, 20, set up a QQ group named “central China debating elites club”, which has attracted over 50 debaters in different universities.
“In the past three months preparing for the debating competition, we have discussed topics and shared experiencs,” said Rao.
Teachers also like to organize face-to-face discussion. The English debating club holds a competition every week, attracting nearly 100 students.
“The impromptu discussion and speeches inspire people to view a subject from a different angle,” said Yang Rui, leader of the English debating team at China Foreign Affairs University.
Someone might think debating is like quarreling but in Zheng Bo’s eyes, debating seeks a compromise.
Zheng, 26, China Representative to World University Debating Council, is the judge for the national debating competition.
Zheng says that in most debating competitions, it is hard to decide who is right and who is wrong, but you can find what both sides agree on.
“Debating isn’t a quarrel. Students should know that the criteria for deciding the winner is reasoned argument,” said Zheng.
“The great thing about debating is not reaching a conclusion, but understanding that certain compromises are valid; that stories always have two sides; and that we need to learn and tolerate both of them.”