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Speaker Session - Dr Michaela Paul - 22nd May

Each term, the Socratic Club plays host to an independent speaker, normally from the professions, but also the creative arts, to bring a different perspective to the group. This offers our members the chance to hear from someone outside of school life, that may introduce them to a concept or skill to spark an interest. We were therefore hugely fortunate to hear from Dr Michaela Paul on life as a doctor and surgeon and how to get involved in that world, from research, training, education and the steps to success. Dr Paul presented the group with what she sees as essential skills to succeed in her profession and how there are many transferable skills/talents that can be applied at school. For instance in major surgery there is very often a team at work, and so learning to play in a football or hockey team at school starts that process of team work. So too, research and in-depth reading matter along with analysis and argumentation – something our members are adept at with debating. It was a fascinating talk and touched on both the highs of her work – in saving lives, but also the more challenging – when there are no options remaining for a patient, other than palliative care. It was an utterly compelling talk and backed up by some superb questions from the group.

In the second half of the session we turned to three debating topics inspired by the presentation.

1. The Motion: ‘Would one rather work as a Doctor or in Business’

Here 25% of the group liked the idea of being a Doctor or working as surgeon/related activities, whilst 75% wanted to be in business. 10-20% of those who wanted to work in business were keen on inventions, nevertheless, that would help humanity, and possibly on a medical front. This discussion showed how directly relevant the talk had been to a high percentage of our members.

2. The Motion: ‘Does healthcare spending matter more than anything else’

Although Government spending on healthcare swamps so many departments particularly defense, the group felt other items mattered more, from education to housing and welfare, and the motion was rejected 29%/71% in the first telling and by 33%/67% in the second.

3. The Motion: ‘The greatest problem facing the world is covid rather than climate change’

The group argued strongly that whilst covid was hugely important and needed to be tackled, climate change was the more pressing problem for humanity. 71% rejected the motion in both tellings and it was a delight to see the impressive argumentation shown.

We much look forward to continuing the debate next time!

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