9780691074504

Gifted Tongues

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780691074504

  • ISBN10:

    069107450X

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2001-04-16
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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Summary

Learning to argue and persuade in a highly competitive environment is only one aspect of life on a high-school debate team. Teenage debaters also participate in a distinct cultural world--complete with its own jargon and status system--in which they must negotiate complicated relationships with teammates, competitors, coaches, and parents as well as classmates outside the debating circuit. InGifted Tongues, Gary Alan Fine offers a rich description of this world as a testing ground for both intellectual and emotional development, while seeking to understand adolescents as social actors. Considering the benefits and drawbacks of the debating experience, he also recommends ways of reshaping programs so that more high schools can use them to boost academic performance and foster specific skills in citizenship. Fine analyzes the training of debaters in rapid-fire speech, rules of logical argumentation, and the strategic use of evidence, and how this training instills the core values of such American institutions as law and politics. Debates, however, sometimes veer quickly from fine displays of logic to acts of immaturity--a reflection of the tensions experienced by young people learning to think as adults. Fine contributes to our understanding of teenage years by encouraging us not to view them as a distinct stage of development but rather a time in which young people draw from a toolkit of both childlike and adult behaviors. A well-designed debate program, he concludes, nurtures the intellect while providing a setting in which teens learn to make better behavioral choices, ones that will shape relationships in their personal, professional, and civic lives.

Author Biography

Gary Alan Fine is Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction 3(16)
Learning to Talk
19(19)
Rites of Arguments
38(29)
Evidence and the Creation of Truth
67(30)
In the Round
97(36)
Our Team
133(29)
Debate Culture
162(28)
Teachers and Coaches
190(27)
Gifted Leisure and the Politics of Debate
217(24)
Debate and the Adolescent Toolkit
241(11)
Appendix Communities of Debate 252(19)
Notes 271(26)
Glossary 297(2)
Index 299

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