It was very good to catch up with familiar faces and new members at our Debating & Interview Club this week.
We began the new year with a recapitulation of key public speaking and presentation skills - with particular emphasis on body language, evidence, stories and rhetorical questions. In addition we looked at structure and how to itemise points during a debate (whether for the proposition or opposition) to impress both those judging as well as the audience.
We then turned to warm-up questions with a nod to approaching interviews:
1. (a) What did you do over the holidays?/(b) What was a highlight? & most importantly Why? - particular emphasis on justification.
2. (a) What are your goals/New Year's Resolutions for 2024?/ (b) What are your hopes/aspirations for the World in 2024? - and again in each case Why?
It was great to hear such an array of highlights, adventures and in turn goals and resolutions for 2024 from taking up a new language, improving sporting performance, reading more, to concentration in school/lessons. For the World we had reference to tackling 'global hunger', 'child poverty', 'climate change', 'homelessness', and 'conflict (military)'.
For our newsround we focussed on the Post Office Scandal that is frontpage news for the present and the greatest miscarriage of justice in the UK's recent history. The group is encouraged to look at newsround, The Week Junior, First News and other news sources with their families throughout the term to keep up-to-speed with current affairs. As per last term, it is great when the pupils drive the debating topics from topics they have read about.
Our debate of the week took in a Philosophical Question and part of some recent 11+ assessments: 'This House believes money makes you happy'?
Going back to Biblical times, the love of money has been seen/viewed as potentially harmful - or the excessive attachment to material wealth. St Paul is often quoted/referred to as saying 'money is the root of all evil'. Yet, as many pointed out, financial stability is something a vast majority want or aim for in order to provide/attain the basics of life. In the first vote the group voted with a significant majority in favour of the motion, by the second telling this has been reduced. Arguments also ranged from nuanced approaches saying that it was not money, but rather what money can buy that makes one happy, to those saying that 'giving' was better than receiving. Dickensian reference was also made to Scrooge as well as Roald Dahl and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Well done on all for such a fascinating debate - with excellent contributions from both proposition and opposition.