Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Great Debate!

Last week, the students from Rm 22 battled it out in the 'Great Debate' of 2019!

Since the latter half of Term One, we had been learning how to draft and argument and then present it to an audience in a bid to convince them that our position was right.

We had to also learn the rules of debating. It turns out that there is a very strict order in which arguments must be presented, and that it is a very formal process. We had to learn the roles of the first, second and third speakers, as well as the role of chairperson and timekeeper. 

Mr S randomly assigned us to teams of three, which were made up of students from Yr 4 - 6. We were then given a topic and a position which we had to argue. This was quite difficult, as sometimes, we didn't agree with the position that we were assigned, but Mr S told us that that was all part of team debating - you had to go with the position you were given!

The topics were really interesting and required a lot of research and thought:

Parents should be able to ‘choose’ and alter the genes of their babies, to make them smarter, healthier, prettier!
Spending money on space exploration is a waste of money...there are more important things to spend money on!
Playing video games are bad for children.
AI and robots will one day take over the world and doom the human race!
Scientific testing on animals is justified as it benefits humans.

Our job was to then go and research arguments to support our position, and then write a script that would win over the audience. It is not as easy as you might think! Each speaker is allowed four minutes to speak, so we also had to practise our speeches aloud, and time them. In addition, Mr S told us that public speaking is 50% the words on the page and 50% how you 'sell' it to your audience, with expression, pausing, eye contact and strong body language.

All our hard work led to the 'Great Debate', which was held last Friday the 16th of August. We had invited parents, relatives and staff to come and watch us battle it out. Various teachers and guests were the adjudicators, and they gave us feedback after each contest. Everyone had a lot of fun and the judges all reported that they were very impressed with us for our incredible efforts.

We look forward to the next one!

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