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Autumn Socratic Club Debating Competition & Certification - 26th November 2023

Given his profound impact on the English language, it was tremendous to be in The Charles Dickens Museum for our Autumn Debating and Public Speaking Competition.

As our groups have expanded, so we have been able to have Junior and Senior competitions respectively.

Both sessions went extremely well, from warm up questions including 'favourite hobby' to 'interesting or fun facts' to 'what have you seen in the news?' - we had a wonderful array of sophisticated responses, taking in topics that covered conservation, climate change, natural disasters and tragic wars and conflicts across the world. In each case we also heard why these things/ideas matter or are important.

We were very fortunate to have our judge for the day from the creative industries and also to have a barrister present providing top tips and feedback on each speech.

Such application/use of public speaking and debating and reflections on how important these skills are in a work-life setting captivated many of our members.

Our debating topic centred on the motion:

'This House believes that children have the right to protest'.

Our judge for the debate looked for: rebuttal, varied and astute vocabulary, an ability to think on your feet, teamwork, POIs (both given and taken), and evidence/stories/rhetorical questions to strengthen argumentation. We were delighted to have such an impressive array of speeches - both on the proposition and opposition sides; and some splendid POIs too with excellent corresponding rebuttal.

The debate was so well argued in both junior and senior competitions that we rather felt even those in the opposition undermined their own argument by being so impressive. If a child can argue so well against the right to protest, namely for lack of experience or education/knowledge/perspective, then they probably do have the intelligence and right to protest(!). In that context the group also saw fact sheets with points for and against the motion. They also had the chance to look at figures in the world of (child) protests including Peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate for her campaign for education for girls. Whilst both groups voting ended up relatively split for each session after two tellings, it was unanimously felt that world leaders, particularly those somewhat older, might not share the same perspective on life as children and would not be facing the same challenges of climate change for as long, therefore children should be part of the discussion, on issues impacting the whole world.

Congratulations to our members for their exceptionally impressive debating and so too in the certification process, with excellent success in achieving debating grades, many with merit and distinction.

We much look forward to our next competitions in 2024!

Lent Term Dates 2024

7th January

Junior Group (11 am) & Senior Group (4 pm)

21st January

Junior Group (11 am) & Senior Group (4 pm)

4th February

Junior Group (11 am) & Senior Group (4 pm)

18th February

Junior Group (11 am) & Senior Group (4 pm)

3rd March

Junior Group (11 am) & Senior Group (4 pm)

17th March

Junior Group (11 am) & Senior Group (4 pm)

24th March

Junior Group (11 am) & Senior Group (4 pm)

Workshops & Events

14th January

Interview Workshop & Group Debating

(Junior & Senior) (11 am)

24th February

Museum Tour

(Junior & Senior) TBC

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