Posted: Mar 18, 2010 12:52 am
by King David
Valden wrote:
Ciarin wrote:Why would you debate with a 10 yr old?

Doesn't matter.

campermon wrote:
Ciarin wrote:Why would you debate with a 10 yr old?

To teach critical thinking perhaps?


Well surprisingly enough, I've learned in just the past year of debating young one's that if you keep your patience, and don't actually talk to them like they're stupid, that they'll open themselves up to new information. :cheers: Though there are those who get all snotty as well of course. :lol: Once one starts behaving like that, I ignore them.

You know, I have a secret...don't tell anyone...but this advice goes for adults as well. :grin: If you really want to have a dialogue with someone which could result in them learning something new or changing their opinion about something, you have to go at it in a non adversarial way. The dialogue can't be framed such in a way that you are trying to "win" an argument and beat the other person. People don't like to be made to feel inferior, especially in front of others. Such a negative emotion blinds people to the truth. People will cling to believing an argument that at some level they know rationally is wrong simply because to concede the point would be to admit defeat. You become a threat to their ego. It makes you the winner and them the loser, and no one wants to be the loser. When you come from the perspective of trying to examine each other's opinions and come to the correct conclusion together, from a calm headed, non judgemental state, people become much more open to new ideas and opinions. It becomes a win-win situation instead of a battle of egos. Of course if someone is deliberately spreading misinformation or making dishonest arguments, then you should rightly tear them a new one and put them in their place, but in the case of someone whose opinion you actually care about, the non-judgmental, non adversarial approach works much, much better.

In the case of children, I agree with the OP. Children are not stupid. They behave as they are taught to behave by following the example of their parents and teachers. If a parent tells their child to shut up and not ask questions, then they won't question. If a parent makes a child feel stupid for thinking for themselves or being curious, then their critical mind will be stifled. The best thing you can do for a child is have non judgmental dialogues with them. Ask them questions. Encourage them to question everything. Encourage their own thinking process instead of just telling them what to think and not to question it. When they are wrong coax them to realize on their own why they are wrong instead of just saying "you're wrong" which makes them feel inferior and shuts down their thought process.