Debating, have we got it right?

I debated in various forms for the entire 4 years of my college life, and as I’ve grown with time and experience, I genuinely believe we’ve got the concept of debating completely wrong in the education system.

The intent of all debates in schools/colleges currently is to ‘win’ the debate and convince the other person, that your opinion is the correct one, and must be agreed upon – no matter what it takes.

While the intent of any debate/discussion should not just be to speak, but to listen, learn from the other person and on occasions, even change your opinion, completely different from what you had when you started.

This flawed concept of debating is one of the major reasons why we have mediocre political debates with friends and family, brainstorming discussions at work where all of us have been trained to have such little egos, and do whatever it takes to be right, ‘win’ the discussion.

The definition of good debaters needs to seriously change from good orators with good convincing skills to people who who don’t just speak, research well, but also listen, empathise and respect reason.