Debate vs Group Discussion
Most of us know the meaning of debate and group discussion as we see and take part in these speaking activities frequently during college years. We see Presidential candidates debating over serious policy issues over national television and also see legislators debating about the legality or otherwise of a provision in the parliament. On the other hand, students having passed a written exam are often asked to take part in group discussion to reveal their leadership qualities. There are many more differences between debate and group discussion that will be highlighted in this article.
A debate is a form of discussion where there are usually two speakers exchanging their views on a subject or several public issues. Speakers are given the chance to speak as they counter the points raised by others with the help of their arguments. An audience is a part of the debate in the form of listeners, and there is no input from the audiences. Debates are meant to be constructive through an exchange of ideas but usually it is seen that speakers try to score brownie points over each other as also to win over audiences making it a destructive debate. However, the basic purpose of a debate is healthy exchange of ideas and opinions.
In schools and colleges, debating is an art of public speaking where the contestants are encouraged to exchange their ideas and opinions freely, taking turns to speak and counter the points raised by other contestants.
As the name implies, a group discussion is a discussion between participants on a chosen topic. Participants are allowed to take part in the discussion freely, and there is actually a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions. It does not matter if a speaker in a group discussion is taking a position for or against a topic as long as he can justify his position through reasoning. However, there is no winning or losing in a group discussion as the process leads to a better understanding of a topic, whether it is a social issue or the provisions of a new proposed law.
These days group discussions have become an important tool for selection of right candidates for an organization as they reveal certain attributes in people that are otherwise difficult to identify. It is seen that many people, though they seem to be knowledgeable, become tongue tied in group situations. To screen such people as they become a liability for an organization if they are required to work in groups, group discussions prove to be a handy tool.
What is the difference between Debate and Group Discussion?
• Debate is for argument and to attack to win while group discussion is to exchange ideas and opinions for a better understanding of a topic.
• In a debate, speakers take turns to present their points while, in a group discussion, all participants can discuss a topic presenting their opinions without turns.
• The views of all participants matter in a group discussion while, in a debate, a speaker has to defend or attack to win.
• Debate is an argument while group discussion is communication of ideas
• Group discussion is constructive and cooperative while debate can be destructive too.