previous arrow
next arrow

'Debate Mate' is an organisation of debate enthusiasts, who facilitate workshops to teach others how to debate, and to help them develop the vital thinking skills needed. They visited UIV (Year 9) on Monday 14th February - Cicely shares her experience with us.

'Our facilitator was Sid, who is currently studying Law at King’s College London. We started off the session by discussing who should get the parachute out of five people in a hot air balloon, which had a hole in the material, based on the speeches they made to persuade us to save them. We then moved on to choosing an object in the room, such as a water bottle, and trying to ‘sell it’ to the audience in groups of three or four. Many different techniques were used to persuade the audience to purchase the products.

Lastly, we moved on to learning the format for a professional debate, where we split the class in two and debated the motion of ‘This House Believes that Zoos Should be Banned’. In this debate we used many of the skills Sid had taught us previously in the session to help make our speeches more persuasive and capture the attention of the judge. Some examples we learnt were: using hand gestures, varying tone and vocabulary, and maintaining composure, to name a few.

I personally enjoyed making points of information during the opposition’s speech. A point of information is when a speaker on the opposite side of the table contributes something, usually a question or comment, to the current speaker’s speech. Points of information allow speakers to engage in one another’s arguments throughout the debate, making it more dynamic and interesting. It was entertaining to learn the protocol for offering a point of information – placing your left hand on your head and stretching out your right. This dates back to when speakers had to hold onto their wigs, then reach out their sword hand to demonstrate that they were not holding a weapon!

Public speaking is a very important skill to have, it can be used in many circumstances and without doubt will come in handy when applying for jobs. I am looking forward to using the skills learnt in this session in future competitions.'

Cicely, UIV