I was happy to hear parent and Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan is advocating for a mock trial team at Morris Area High School. I think every high school should at least consider a mock trial team.
My son was on a mock trial team for at least three years in high school. He didn't become a lawyer and as we talked about it on Aug. 2, he could only think of two team members who went to law school.
But I don't think mock trial is designed only to channel students to law school. It does, however, expose students to the judicial system. The students may never need to appear in court but a better understanding of the roles within the courtroom and how the judicial system works is valuable.
My son Luke said two of his favorite parts of mock trial were learning about the court system and the competitiveness of mock trial. Also, "I liked it for the ability not only to perform but also to learn," he said.
Teams present a court case in competition against each other. Team members assume various roles in a court case provided by the Minnesota State Bar Association, Jordan said in his presentation to the school board on July 23.
I know firsthand that team members study their roles and prepare for questions and scenarios that can happen in a courtroom.
Mock trial is also an opportunity for students to practice critical and analytical thinking.
His mock trial teams always had a mix of girls and boys. As a parent, I really appreciated that girls and boys cooperated on an activity that challenged their critical thinking and analytical thinking.
I'm going to let my son's answer to some of my questions illustrate how mock trial exercised his critical and analytical thinking.
"I liked that you had to create your own opinion and argue it. You had to potentially get to the truth," he said.
I saw how mock trial, along with speech, increased my son's confidence in speaking in front of others. But it wasn't just confidence in front of people. I saw where it helped hone his one-on-one skills and also, his ability to listen and then, followup with a question or a counterpoint. Believe me, I have experienced that more than once in person.
When I asked if it helped prepare him for life after high school. His response was nearly a "Duh." Instead it was "Obviously."
And here's the one comment that for me beautifully explains the need for activities and benefit of activities such as mock trial. "You learn to make a point and be heard," he said. In an age when so many people just blabber opinions and outshout each other, we all need more activities in which those younger than us can gain confidence in making a point and be heard.