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Experts hope more kids learn how to argue

Experts hope more kids learn how to argue



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SALT LAKE CITY -- You may think scoring high enough on reading, writing and arithmetic will get your kids ahead, but a debate class may help them go even farther in this world.

"If you're going to be a proactive citizen, you have to be able to stand up for what you know is right and necessary," Highland High School debate coach David Smith said.

He says knowing how to argue correctly will help in your career.

"You learn how to think when you learn how to debate. You learn how to express yourself. There's just too many instances where if you don't have those abilities, you are left in the lurch," he said.

Experts say they are concerned that this next generation does not know how to argue correctly. They say kids are learning to just say "Well it's a free country and I can say what I want," rather than clearly presenting an argument.

That's why Smith says learning debate is helpful.

"Debate teaches kids how to form arguments, how to persuade, how to listen, which I think is really critical. How to research and how to argue from a logical and analytic perspective than from an emotional, knee-jerk reaction," he said.

Smith says many high schools have debate programs, but for those who don't, there is a lot of support from the Utah State Bar and the debate coaches association. There are volunteers who will work with kids and schools to develop programs to help kids get off the ground.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

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Mary Richards

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