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Knightsbridge School - 21st September

What a great first session of term with our Knightsbridge School debating & interview club. As ever with our sessions we reviewed key skills, looked at mock interview questions and then centred on two key topics of recent days, in this case: HS2 and Space Exploration.

The group began with a warm-up by looking at 'What is your favourite subject?' The key here was to make this as interesting as possible with varied vocabulary, stories and evidence beyond just classroom work to justify the answer. We had a tremendous array of options given, from Mathematics, to Sport and riding, to Artistic talent and Creative writing. It was a very impressive beginning.

The group was also asked to prepare key news stories and to focus on reading material from First News, The Week Junior and any daily news briefing they had come across at home. We discussed inter alia the flood disasters in Libya, the War in Ukraine, and sporting news from Spain to the premier league.

On key skills, for the first week we focussed on body language and question skills (from Shakespeare) and how to incorporate rhetorical questions into argumentation, we also discussed the importance of being able to interrupt a debate or interject with a POI. The group was encouraged to answer them (POIs), using such points/questions as a springboard to further argumentation or rebuttal during our debates.

We then turned to our main debating topics.

HS2: and the changing position of the Prime Minister in recent days. Should the train be extended beyond Birmingham?

After a brief vote we then divided into teams for our final motion of the session on Space exploration.

Space exploration: Given the tantalizing prospect of life being seen by the James Webb telescope we split into opposition and proposition to ask whether Rishi Sunak should have space exploration as a top priority of government. Both sides spoke with conviction and incorporated the key skills discussed in the session. The use of excellent body language (from posture, to hand gestures to illustrate points), Rhetorical Questions and POIs worked very cleverly to enhance the debate, and it was an extremely interesting and fast moving session covering many of the key arguments. The group was evenly split with many seeing the NHS, the cost of living, and inflation as vital tasks, whilst others could see the need for satellite progress and the pursuit of knowledge as key factors in a potential new space race.

It was also clear from both tellings that voting had moved with active listening and each side hearing a point or two that they had not though about in advance of the debate.

Well done all on such excellent debating! Looking forward to the next session.

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