Thoughts on Public Speaking and Debate

By Erika Choi

In Q1 2020, I took a “Public Speaking and Debate” class with Virginia. This class was on how to speak in public properly and talked about the ability to convey the argument to audiences. I hesitated a little to choose this class because I wasn’t good at speaking, and I never had a proper debate in school. However, I knew what my weaknesses were and I decided they would need to improve one of these days.

We read a book with basic information, like what fallacies are and how to prep for a debate. Not only did I like that we got to choose the debate topic, but I also loved the homework where we needed to film videos of ourselves speaking. It made me more interested and even if it was stressful, it helped me to improve my speaking in front of a camera a lot. We wrote the outline of both the proposition and the opposition of an argument. I was grateful that she gave us enough time to complete it, which allowed me to think more deeply. In this process, I noticed that to get ready for a debate requires lots of worthwhile, acceptable, and accurate information. This means that the information needs to provide strong evidence in support of your argument. This evidence must be either very persuasive all on its own, or be supported by research done by professionals.

I had a hard time figuring out the work on my own, but we created teams to assemble our points. During the team work, my team members helped me a lot. I liked that we gave feedback, advice, and compliments to each other. This team was the best because of our teamwork and because we were all super enthusiastic. We had our own team meetings on Google Meet to work on our debate and practice over the weekend. We supported each other, which led me to feel confident.

Before taking this class, I thought that a debate was arguing with opponents and refuting them. I never thought that the arguments need a lot of supportive studies, consideration of my delivery, and persuasive information. But, before we had our exhibition, we had a practice debate, which led me to have a successful debate exhibition. Now, I am so thankful for the school and the teacher that gave me the opportunity to improve my weaknesses and knowledge.

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