top of page

The Socratic Club - 17th March

This was a super St Patrick's Day set of Socratic Club sessions and great to see the group focussing on debating skills for maximising point scoring in competitions. Our skill of the week looked at clarity and simplicity in public speaking with particular reference to active listening and rhetorical questions.  

Our warm up question asked:

'If you could produce a movie for cinema what would it be about and why?'

This saw a range of options mentioned, from animation to documentaries on military history, the environment, to Greek mythology, horror movies, and screen plays on Alexander Hamilton and Cinderella. 

Our newsround saw topics raised from the war in Ukraine, to the conflict in Gaza, Space exploration, to the issues over the Mothering Sunday photo released by the Princess of Wales, to the Volcanic eruptions in Iceland. 

We also looked at three unseen works/pieces involving editing an image, with Henry VIII's family portrait including Jane Seymour who had long since past away and the artist David's Napoleon crowning himself and his wife with his Mother onlooking, even though she did not actually attend the ceremony. We asked in the context of the newsround mention of the Princess of Wales Mothering Sunday photo, whether it mattered to photoshop or edit an image or painting? The group liked the idea of 'truth' but accepted that all images and paintings told different stories and involved artistic editing. The key difference/argument in the group centred on the role of the person involved - it was felt that public office made a difference compared to private reflections. 

For our final unseen we turned to photos of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa and Mikhail Gorbachev - and asked the students to identify them and then say what they all had in common - all noble peace prize winners.

On the back of the budget and ministers questioning defence spending (or the absence of an announcement) our motion asked:

'This House would spend more on defence?'   

The majority of both the Junior and Senior club voted overwhelmingly in favour - given the uncertain world of the present - with conflicts in the Middle East and the War in Ukraine - arguing that the UK needed to be ready and better prepared. The opposition whilst agreeing that defence spending was important, felt that healthcare, education and the environment mattered more and that these were greater priorities. 

We then turned to two technology themed debates:

(i) Our first on the motion: 'This House believes that robots can replace teachers'.

In both sessions, the group rejected the motion. It was argued that we already use many robots in education, but the overall class teacher could not be replaced. Whilst it was felt there could be economic savings, emotional intelligence and adapting to the situation required a human being to be present. It was, however, argued that in time more teaching roles would be replaced by robots, but ultimately a teacher (human being) was still required. 

(ii) For our second technology debate we turned to the motion: 'Books are better than e-books?'

Here voting was more split that in the first two debates. Those in favour of e-books, liked the flexibility that a kindle or tablet provided for travel and the fact that you didn't need to cut down trees for paper. Whilst those for the motion disliked the need for electric charge for the device and liked 'turning the page' in a real book and the idea of passing books down between generations. 

Well done on another excellent session. Looking forward to next week!

3 views0 comments


bottom of page