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American School in London - 20th March

It was a great pleasure to begin our Socratic Debating & Interview Club at The American School in London.

We were hugely impressed with the contributions from the group and we will be working our way through key debating & public speaking skills throughout the term. 

Our skill focus this week looked at Summary Speaking in addition to the main structural/format points of Oxbridge style debating. 

Our warm up question asked:

'What is your favourite holiday destination and why?'

This saw a tremendous array of responses from India, to Turkey, America, China and Japan - with excellent justification from culture, to language, sport, general relaxation and catching up with friends and family. 

Our newsround saw topics raised from the war in Ukraine, the conflict in Gaza, volcanic activity in Iceland, to Putin's 5th term, the election in Portugal and Space exploration. 

We also looked at three unseen works/pieces involving editing an image, with Henry VIII's family portrait including Jane Seymour who had long since past away and the artist David's The Coronation of Napoleon with Napoleon's Mother onlooking, even though she did not actually attend the ceremony. 

Our first motion of term asked in the context of the Mothering Sunday photo by the Princess of Wales:

'Is it ok to photoshop/edit and image or painting?'

The group liked the idea of 'truth' but accepted that all images and paintings told different stories and involved artistic editing. Many felt that you needed permission to edit in or edit out people from images and questions of privacy dominated much of the discussion. 

One of the key differences/arguments in the group centred on the role of the person involved - it was felt that public office made a difference compared to private reflections. Social media also played a key role in the debate with many concerned about fake images online and how this can impact children. 

Well done all on a superb first session! We much look forward to next week. 

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