Why is parliamentary debate important?

Clubs are an important aspect of high school. They help students grow skills that are not only important to them, they can be fun too. One club that excels with this is speech and debate. Speech and debate teaches students how to argue and write arguments, research and speak publicly.

Speech and debate offers many different events to participate in, including parliamentary debate, or more commonly known as parli. Parli works like this: once a team picks a topic they have fifteen minutes to prepare an argument without any resources except a dictionary. Then the team will debate the topic.

Parli is an important and beneficial event for many reasons. Parli teaches students how to form logical arguments, how to write persuasively, how to keep up with current events that could possibly be topics, how to speak in a way that will convince an audience, and how to come up with solid ideas under pressure and a time constraint. Those are all skills that can be really helpful to a student.

Going into the event unprepared, also causes students to be attracted to Parli. Because it is non prepared it’s much less of a commitment than one that is prepared because those debates can take hours to write and change every few months. This means more people are able to take part in speech and debate that may not have been able to before due to their schedule.

“I’ve been doing Parli with my partner Nalini for four years including this year and I love it,” speech and debate officer Lauren Sandberg said “I have a very packed schedule with dance practice for hours every week, taking care of my animals, and homework for the five AP classes I’m taking this semester. I wanted to be part of speech and debate but I didn’t think I would have time, that is until I was introduced to Parli which was flexible and worked for my schedule. Now I can balance all my extracurriculars”

Parli is also one of the only partner debates offered. Sandberg and her partner Nalini Oliver, speech and debate president, are longtime partners in Parli and have become great friends because of it. “I was new to West Linn High School my freshman year, I had just transferred from Canby. My mom told me to try joining a club to make some new friends so I joined speech and debate where I met my partner and now close friend Nalini,” Sandberg said.

Speech and debate is a great club to be a part of and it offers so much to its members. It teaches students skills that will help them throughout their life. They can be part of a team, or partnership, with Parli.