Debate Dilemma

The DHS debate team that has won over 90 awards and has fostered a legacy of consistent honor is in trouble. Of the 12 members that were on the team two years ago, only six are left and only one of the remaining members is an underclassman. 

While debate with smaller teams is feasible, it may put pressure on the members. The question is: why are so few people doing debate and why are they not recruiting new members?

Debate is co-curricular, which means that you must take the Debate and Discussion class in order to be eligible for the team. The class must be able to fit into a seven hour schedule. 

Oral presentation is one of the most disliked things to do within the class, according to debate team coordinator Amy Bushey. 

¨I think a lot of my students now are very fearful of public speaking,” Bushey said. “I see that in my Econ class, and when I ask them, ‘What, don’t you enjoy most of the class?’  and they’re only public speaking, public speaking, public speaking.̈ 

According to Bushey, the oral format of debate also creates a problem for the students.

“I don’t think that students have enough exposure to [oral skills],” Bushey said. “Especially in a world where we’re becoming more text-technology orientated. But in the real world, as we are required to work in different teams, share concepts in different environments, communication skills are very important. So [debate format] allows students to practice those skills.”

This creates a situation that could result in DHS not having a debate team. This  will be a change to how DHS has operated in years previous. 

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Samuel Baker

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