B.R.A.W.L. is a book debate, where groups of students are given a question to answer which can be supported by evidence. My English class was using “All Quiet on the Western Front” as the chosen book to debate about.
I liked the concept of how we were able to look at the different aspects of certain questions by looking through the pros and cons, and trying to weigh out what was MORE right. Everything was happening so fast, it was hard to keep up with what was going on. Often times, the answers would have less and less of a connection to the question. Each time someone buzzed an interruption button, the topic would get farther from what was being debated. I was so upset, but only to the point where I was simmering.
I understand the importance of bringing a new topic into something that justifies it as more right, only with the exception that it ties to the question itself. Starting a new topic can provide you another path to understanding something further and to connect it with other topics that support the thesis. But it wasn’t like that, or at least for the most part. When people started buzzing in, the official groups to debate against each other, were silent. What are you supposed to say in a debate if the thing you’re debating about isn’t what’s being debated at the moment? Just debate against each other even if it wasn’t what was supposed to be argued/compromised about? The whole debate is useless, if it doesn’t tie in to the question. There were some great arguments, but they were arguments that were completely off from what was being asked.
Aside from how things got out of topic at times, I enjoyed creating and thinking up of questions and answers to prepare for the B.R.A.W.L.
The first few days of discussing the questions for the B.R.A.W.L. were a little hectic. We spent too much time discussing the counterarguments of hypothetical answers students might choose, but people are unpredictable so we used a different method. We cut to the chase and decided to list down our opinions and thoughts on a google document, and this made it so much easier and we were more productive. My main part of this group was to write the answers I’ve come up with to add on to the group document. I elaborated some of the questions my teammates have made by providing an example to how it’s related to life and furthering the discussion if something was too vague. One example about the extent of control we have over making decisions for others was Leelah Alcorn. She was a transgender teenager who committed suicide, due to the pressure of conforming to a gender by her parents. Making decisions for others should only be necessary if they’re mentally or physically disabled. Pushing someone to do something that they don’t like, will harm the person more than it benefiting them, like Leelah Alcorn’s struggle with transphobia.
My favorite question to answer, hands down, was whether the press should focus more on the hospital or battlefield. This is something that we deal with, but it doesn’t get much attention because sometimes nobody wants to know the horrors of war, including me. Either way, there is a need of discussion for it. The press tends to focus on warfare more than the effects of warfare, and I think they censor it to keep people from knowing how awful things end up to be. War is romanticized, especially the killing part, that soldiers are dehumanized and seen as targets rather than humans. There is something so wrong about that statement. Soldiers deserve the respect to be seen as how they felt while fighting. We should emphasize the gruesome, depressing parts about war.
During B.R.A.W.L. I felt like most of the debates were unfinished, like there was something more to add to, the only thing we could do was to prepare well and thoroughly. The less prepared you were, the worse you did. You can’t decide on something based off on one reason, you need other reasons to back it up. You’ll look like an idiot if you bluntly choose something for one reason. As a stubborn race, we humans do that constantly. Sometimes we’ll even choose something because it’s easier to deal with, or it takes less work to think about it. Everything we do has a rippling effect to those around us, whether it be emotions, actions, words, etc.
Debates provide us the opportunity to look and analyze things from different angles, and it’s something I need to work on. I know this experience will further my decision making skills forcing myself to think about all the aspects of what I should/can do. I’ve learned there’s a second meaning behind everything, and to not jump to the obvious conclusions that everyone thinks of as their first draft thought. I would be glad B.R.A.W.L. for any book or topic. I came out of B.R.A.W.L. learning that everything is in relation to everything else.