Hari Shankar, Grade X
“Debating is one of the most high-octane intellectual activities out there, and the thrill of making a persuasive argument is unforgettable. Debating is an art; more precisely, it’s the art of making persuasive and powerful arguments to convince people of your way of thinking.
My experience at Speech and Debate was invaluable towards making me a better debater, and more importantly, a better thinker. Debating hones skills like critical thinking, research and speaking. I had attended the Leadership in the Business World and Future of Education courses run by SDI, and over the course of a very fun 2 weeks, I was exposed to so many novel ideas and partook in multiple scintillating discussions about the future of the world. We examined different sectors and the impact of the pandemic on the economy as well as our school life. We debated on many critical issues over the course of these programs, ranging from the US Presidential Elections to business strategies for Disney!
What was particularly interesting was the depth we went into for each topic. We didn’t just stop at making surface level arguments. Rather, we investigated and conducted copious amounts of research into each area and tried to link our understanding of different issues under a broad overarching theme. I was able to improve my research skills to a great extent; using data to back an already strong argument makes it even stronger!
Debating taught me to make arguments concise while still retaining their core essence. Being able to convey a veritable myriad of convincing arguments in under 6 minutes is a skill like none other. I learnt how to explain well-researched arguments and the supporting evidence in the most concise way possible; this led me to understand the core aspects of any argument and present them in an even stronger way.
My experience at the National Tournament was awesome! Over the course of 4 weeks of intense debate, I got to interact and debate with people from all over the country. We were able to conduct research on the educational system on an extremely deep level, and made arguments on the future of education and the increasing role technology will play on the schooling system. This enabled me to develop a deep level of analysis to examine things in my environment that I had never really thought about before.
All in all, my experience with SDI was exhilarating! I’ve become a more confident debater, and have honed my critical thinking and my researching abilities to new heights. It’s something I would recommend for everyone to do!”
Aadya Agarwal, Grade VII – Chirec International School
“When I joined Speech and Debate, the idea of making it to the national finals, far less qualifying for nationals at all, didn't dare to slip into my mind. Every session I end up improving myself and learning. Speech and Debate India helps people meet other people from all over the world, it gives us exposure to things we wouldn’t normally know about and it helps us with our conversational, creative and critical thinking skills. I personally think that being a part of Speech and Debate India has made me a better debater and a better person.Debate has shown me how to do research: how to locate and digest information easily and effectively. Speech and Debate India taught me how to synthesize claims. And it has taught me that there are always more than two sides of a lot of problems. It also showed me the value of nuance – we always argue with each other as we interpret certain terms differently. Speech and Debate has so far been the most academically valuable extra-curricular I have ever engaged in. It has taught me how to think for myself, organize ideas, present my thoughts effectively while speaking and most importantly it has taught me how to take failure in a positive way, to learn from my mistakes and to improvise at every step of the path. Our instructors are extremely supportive of us. They make us feel like there is a winner in one of us. They push us to do the best we can, and this encouragement is what's making us better, as people and as debaters. The entire environment that the class takes place in is very positive, it makes us feel like we are all welcome and it makes us feel like our instructors aren’t our superiors but our mentors. It doesn’t feel like a burden but rather a gift, a gift to debate because to the rest of the world we are just kids who have issues with the way things are.”
Prahlad Madhu, Grade IX
“Apart from the obvious fact that it has thoroughly enhanced my debating skills, Speech and Debate India (SDI) has been, for the past few months, instrumental in improving my communication and research skills, my persuasiveness and spontaneity amongst many others. The numerous fascinating intensive courses have been extremely useful in terms of preparation for tournaments, practicing the art of debating in itself and learning new facts and opinions about a plethora of subjects. SDI has also helped me harness innumerable soft and hard skills, and below, I will mention how.
Apart from the four C’s and many of the Big Five Traits, SDI has helped me hone an array of other hard skills, like strengthening my knowledge in the English language. It has been a platform to propel and boost children and has helped me improve myself in ways I would never imagine. I am eternally grateful to our mentors and coaches who constantly strive to do their best for us. I hope to, in the future, have many more such wonderful memories with SDI.”
Abhay Gogineni, Grade VI – National Academy for Learning
“My journey with Speech Debate India is an amazing one. Speech debate India is a platform where we can share our thoughts through debates and discussions. It is perfect as it has that competitiveness and that fun and jokes and thinking power.
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Hear my story with Speech Debate India. I live in Bangalore, South India. Here besides studying and sports and entertainment there isn’t much to do. The only common classes here are sport related, study related, singing & dancing, drawing and the occasional robotics class. I wanted something that makes me think and someplace where I could share my knowledge and learn from others knowledge too. Some place where we fought peacefully for superiority and at the same time be united. My mom found it, Debating!
However, there were no debate classes in Bangalore and then the lockdown came. We were stuck in home feeling bored. My mom was doing some office work and randomly typed debate classes and found out about speech debate India. She wanted me to sign up. At the time I disliked debate and disagreed because I thought it was just arguing and writing down stuff. My mom put me in the class anyway. When I went to the first class, I was amazed and I wanted to go every day. And I did!
Soon the tournaments came. The tournaments were like very hard and I had no hope about getting a high place as they were so many more experienced people there. However, I soon learnt experience doesn’t always matter. I learnt that skill and preparation matters. I made it through all rounds and came fifth place out of so many teams. And this being my first time, I was very surprised and I wondered how I came above those with experience. Then I realized, My team. Our teamwork was the reason we won. If we did not work together, we would have not won. And because we debated over small issues, we managed to find out mistakes in our plan and improved it. I love speech debate India and I feel that everyone in Bangalore like me needs to know about this.”
Veeksha Gogineni, Grade V
“There is truly nothing about Speech and Debate India not to like. First there’s Mrs. Ritika who always comes up with videos to watch and new facts to learn for our topic. Then there’s Rajiv Sir who basically runs the class. Rajiv Sir also tells us about interesting facts on our topic.
Speech and Debate India has been really addictive for me. Whenever I attend a class, I feel like I just became the smartest version of myself.
That is the amount of information Sir gives us in one class. Ma’am and Sir teach the class so interestingly that we adore each class.
This has been very useful, and I am looking forward to the next course this August. So, in conclusion there is nothing to not like in Speech and Debate India.
How it has helped me on my journey so far.
Speech and Debate India has been very useful on my journey so far and I am saying this with experience of only one course-young explorers or YE.
It has –
Speech and Debate India has been very useful to me. I now have the courage to speak in front of a large group of people. Speech and debate is very useful not only for each individual, but for the entire community in making better decisions.”
Madhu V – Parent of Prahlad Madhu
“From the time he enrolled with Speech and Debate India, I have identified various points of improvement in Prahlad. Apart from the fact that the program makes him work hard and go the extra mile, here are a few of the key takeaways I have seen Prahlad incorporate into his daily life.
Overall, I feel that the guides at Speech and Debate India are doing a tremendous job at not only training the kids to do better as debaters and speakers but also, helping them do better in life. The college admission tracks in the Debate Academy and the Leadership Circle are just a few examples of how the mentors are enhancing children’s skills. I would like to thank the mentors at Speech and Debate India who have worked tirelessly to better children’s abilities, providing them with the most amazing of opportunities. This program has most definitely been extremely beneficial for Prahlad, and I will continue to keep him a part of Speech and Debate India, so he improves and gets to his level-best.”
Shankaran Srinivasan – Parent of Hari Shankaran
“I really liked SDI's approach to debating where students were evaluated not only on their speeches but for their collaboration with each other, for being considerate, and research. It was interesting that they got to argue for both sides of the issue, and that really deepened their knowledge of the topic. Hari really enjoyed being able to interact with people all over the country to develop deeper insights into educational reform. Being able to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of solutions set the debate in reality. Hari really enjoyed the detailed feedback he was given. Hari really enjoyed the research aspect of this, and I was glad to see that he won the Best Researcher Award in the High School Division.”
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