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DrasticDreamer's avatar

Ethics Debate. Should I participate or not?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (23981points) May 21st, 2009

We’re currently having a debate in my class about something that I have personal experience with. The teacher stated that we’re supposed to remain calm and unemotional, but I don’t know if that is possible for me.

So. Should I try to participate or email the teacher and let him know that I may not be able to remain unemotional if I get involved?

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25 Answers

DeanV's avatar

Depends. Are you graded on participation? I know that sounds shallow, but if you can get a grade without getting all riled up, that changes things…

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Participation is graded, yes. It’s not a huge part of the grade, but it definitely still counts.

DeanV's avatar

Then I say go for it. If this teacher has skill in maintaining a classroom, he should be able to control people. But emailing him may be a good idea.

basp's avatar

I think part of the learning experience is to be able to debate without letting your emotions get in the way. From that perspective, I would say just grow up and deal with it.
However, I have no idea what your personal experience was or the debate topic,and I can think of some reasons why I might forego the grade to save myself pain if I were in the situation.
Follow your gut.
Good luck with your decision.

Urban's avatar

Of course you should participate. A debate is more fun when you’re fueled by your belief. I would think as long as your arguments and reasons are rational, the teacher should encourage it. If you have first hand experience with the subject matter, it’s vital to hear it – it could change the minds of others (for good or bad).

You should be able to check your emotions when debating, but if you can’t so what? What’s the worst case scenario here?

jackfright's avatar

@DrasticDreamer does it count enough to justify your involvement? if you can pass the grade otherwise, it doesn’t matter. just play along and get what you need to pass. the hassle and emotion isn’t worth it imo.

augustlan's avatar

I think this entirely depends on whether or not you’d be ok with people knowing you’ve got personal experience with the subject. If you aren’t able to keep your emotions out of it, it’s going to be pretty obvious. I’m with @basp on this one… trust your instincts.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I had a “debate” type class as well. I was always arguing from emotion (even though I wasn’t supposed to). I am one of those people who believes that is the reason we debate in the first place. If it is something important to you then go for it. You can always give the disclaimer that it is personal to you. Or not. But if it is something that would leave you vulnerable then I wouldn’t go there. Take care of yourself first. You know what is right. I agree with the statement of “trust your instincts”. And don’t take others opinions personally. People just get caught up in “arguing”.

Here is an example from my debate class. This time it wasn’t my emotions. I think about this still to this day. It made a huge difference.

We were asked to debate Dr. Assisted Suicide. The teacher handed out the sides, and I didn’t really care too much because I was on the fence. We got Against. So after doing research on it I really felt against it. But I was just caught up in the research I had done regardless of how I really felt. So during our actual debate I was arguing against it. Then it came time for the classmates to ask questions and participate. One guy raises his hand and said his mother had severe medical issue and finally resorted to Dr. Assisted Suicide. Yikes! It was really heart wrenching. I politely said that I am glad she had that option but I continued the debate. (I still feel bad to this day even though he didn’t take it personally and I didn’t say anything rude, in fact later he told me he thought I was cool or something, lol). I don’t know if that adds anything to my response or not besides letting you know that people argue from emotion all the time even when you don’t realize it.

justwannaknow's avatar

If you believe in it, Then debate it. emotions be damed.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Thanks, guys. I’m going for it. I don’t know if I want to reveal that I have personal experience with it, especially because of some things that have already been uttered by some people, but I may. It’s my life… My choice… Fuck ‘em if they disagree. :D

MacBean's avatar

I’d let the professor know ahead of time, just in case you can’t keep yourself in check and need to stop debating in the middle or something.

augustlan's avatar

Good for you, DD. Courage!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@MacBean Yeah, good point. I think I will. However, as long as I maintain the belief that I’m superior compared to some of the people, I think I’ll be good…...


I’ll let everyone know how it goes, for better or worse. Heh. :)

btko's avatar

I think your idea of emailing your teacher was a good one. At least they know what to expect.

dynamicduo's avatar

Eventually in life you will be met with this situation and not given the opportunity to exit. Thus I would consider this current situation to be great practice for that eventual time. Try a strategy, reflect on it at the end. Good luck :)

CMaz's avatar

I agree, “emotion be dammed.” But, we are always learning how to navigate through life. Good opportunity to learn about yourself (under fire) and expand your horizons.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Well… I emailed the teacher to let him know I have personal experience with the topic of discussion. I asked him to let me know if I was getting overly emotional, that way I could quietly back out.

Surprisingly, I’ve kept my cool so far. A couple people with opposing views are starting to lose it, by being snarky and calling me “my love” and “dearest”, which I was more than happy to point out wasn’t appropriate. :D

casheroo's avatar

I’m glad you’ve got it figured out, and good for you for keeping your cool.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Sounds like you got a good head on your shoulders. Glad it is going well.

justwannaknow's avatar

@DrasticDreamer You go girl, I knew you could do it!

CMaz's avatar

Debating is like playing poker, and you should always have a poker face. When a person starts to “loose it” called a show. All they are doing is showing their hand. That weakness is always an advantage.

bright_eyes00's avatar

This would be a great time for you to work on controlling your emotions when discussing things that you have personal experience with. I think it might do you some good. And if you feel like you cant take anymore, just get up and walk out and take a breather outside. (make sure you clear it with your instructor first) Good luck!

Jeruba's avatar

@DrasticDreamer, what a wonderful opportunity for you to find out how well you can handle yourself in stressful, even dangerous, territory and see what you need to work on. You were brave to go for it and wise to alert your instructor so he could intervene if necessary. This is an experience that will stand by you in you future career, whatever it may be; that is, it’s valuable and highly transferable knowledge that you are gaining.

I happen to believe that sooner or later I will use everything I know, and that includes personal experiences of all kinds. Some of the most important uses have turned out to be sympathetic understanding for others who were in the same position and as-needed guidance for my own children. There are few strengths greater than true knowledge of your own strengths and how to compensate for your weaknesses.

Kraigmo's avatar

When I debate, sometimes I have an inner disgust at the complete lack of logic, empathy, or facts the other person has. But I hide that inner disgust and keep it professional. I suggest you do that, if you can. Otherwise, tell the teacher its too emotional a topic because of your own personal experience.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I am sure that the other participants will help you to remain calm when you notice the others responses too. To be sure their are going to be other emotional responses.
Remember not to take things personl…not everything is about us.

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