Debating with Year 12

Imperial debate
The day started early for all of us- the state of north Harrow station at 7.00AM is best described as bleak. Still, can’t arrive after the students!

Four Year 12s: Charlotte ,Simren , Callum And Ridhi have been debating for 5 months and face their first real taste of university debating: four blind debates, with a possible fifth and sixth if they overcome the likes of Eton and St Paul’s and reach the semis. Each debate lasts around an hour and the students are given 20 minutes to prepare from the announcement of the motion to the beginning of the debate. Students? 16 &17 year olds. How many of us would rise to the same challenge as effectively as they do?

After coffee and a curious panini we made it to the college… The waiting began prior to the announcement of the first motion and the allocation of chairs. Use of the world speaker tables to judge individuals is a new concept to me.

Motion 1:

Ucgs a: 1 props 2nd
ucgs b :1 opp. 4th.
It is always hard to one a debate in this sort of competition. Parameters need to be set clearly as well as good, strong arguments. is there a moral aspect or a philosophical point to make? Also, after the first 15 minutes they can only affect the course of the debate through points of information which are always at the mercy of the speaker at any given time. tricky. As opposition, of course, the biggest issue with this seat is a weak opening speech- how can you rebut five minutes of fluff?
Even after the first round, the adrenaline is pouring out of the teams. This kind of competition is a wonderful exercise in developing clarity and direction in a speech or, therefore, in writing. it is also highly competitive and intense.
General feedback focused around full explanations and comparative assessments… Vital particularly in seat 4.
Round 2:

Ucgs a 2 opp
Ucgs b 1 prop, poor things. They did a strong job and ended up in 2nd place. They seem to be getting the short straws today. However, their sense of frustration was small, compared to the two girls who steamed out of the other room having been given a “dodgy” 4th… Possibly one of those bats across the dressing room incidents just prior to watching the replay with hawk eye showing the ball clearly hitting middle. The passion that Simren and Charlotte felt is why I love debating so much. It really does matter to these students and pitting their brains and eloquence against many of their direct competitors in the rat-race for University places is no activity for the faint hearted.

Round 3
Ucgs a: 1opp
Ucgs b: 2opp

In truth, Charlotte and Simren weren’t too calm as they went off to the next room, but surely there. A valuable point here which all sportsmen come to terms with – the referee is always right, even when he is wrong and we all need to adjust ourselves to the prevailing attitudes on any given day. in something as subjective as a debate this is even clearer. Adrenaline needs to be channelled… A Lowood moment for the girls.

They even won their debate as UCGS A. At last.

The real point is that in 4 debates, the four students have had the chance to debate form each chair and have been forced to face the fact that winning can not be taken for granted in any facet of life.

Round 4:
Ucgs a: prop 2
Ucgs b: prop 2

We didn’t stay for the result and break for the final. An hour of cold pizza and 1Direction had driven this elderly teacher totally mad. Ohhh, and flappy birds will be coming to a form time near you, soon.

22 February debate lecture day: students only can apply… Contact.talktome@gmail.com

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