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St Andrew's School - 18th September

This was another excellent session with our St Andrew's Pangbourne debating club with a focus on rhetorical questions and Points of Information (POIs).

We began the club with a review of 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 and how best to answer them, using such points/questions as a springboard to further argumentation or rebuttal. 


The group was then asked to present on key news stories of the week. The more the group can engage with the news, First News, The Week Junior and BBC newsround the more this will help with our debating and review of current affairs. 

We discussed inter alia the flood disasters in Libya and Dangerous Dogs. 

Our key topics of the day centred on HS2 and Space Exploration. In the first instance, the case for/against the high speed line and whether stage 2 to the north of England should be cut? The group voted overwhelmingly at both tellings against HS2 in favour of spending the money on the existing network and other priorities such as education and the NHS. The failure of the line to either directly link London or Birmingham to any other major hub cities played strongly against the plans. 

Our second topic, given the tantalizing prospect of life being seen by the James Webb telescope was on whether we should continue to invest in space projects or whether this was a distraction from other key projects in the UK? For this debate we split into two teams in a formal debate and both proposition and opposition spoke with conviction and incorporated the key skills we had looked at across our first two sessions. The use of POIs worked usefully to disrupt the flow of the proposition, but it was nevertheless an extremely impressive and fast moving debate covering many of the key arguments. 

Superb debating all! Looking forward to the next session. 

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