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The Socratic Club - 28th April


This weekend we saw a tremendous set of Socratic Club sessions. 

Our skill focus this week looked at Explanation - and the combination of Point, Evidence and Explanation - and how to express complicated ideas and arguments in simple terms, to best persuade an audience. 


Our warm-up questions looked at the interview style questions:

(i) 'What is your favourite hobby?'; and (ii) 'if you could study abroad, where would you go/pick and why?'

Hobbies included: Chess, Basketball, Collecting Pokémon cards, Cycling, and adventure courses - with excellent justification from strategy, to thinking ahead, the challenge, and improving speed and fitness. 

Study abroad locations included: New York, the South of France, Japan, China and American Universities more generally. In each case it was super to hear the reasoning, from shared language, new culture, better climate and exposure to new people and ideas. 


Our newsround saw the Olympic torch feature, the $61 billion aid package from the USA for Ukraine, to Shark attacks, Robots/AI news, the election in India (the long process involved), protests in Gaza, and the health of the monarch (King Charles III). 

We then turned to our set-piece debates:

(i) Our first looked at an NGO focussed on 'Adopting a Coastline' and we asked if this should be 'expanded globally'?

The junior group began by supporting the motion 57% in favour; with an emphasis on dealing with litter, coastal erosion, protecting the environment for animals with plastic waste. The opposition worked very well on looking at cost and whether the scheme was viable globally. In the end the merits of helping the environment trumped the day, but some voting switched with active listening to new points made, but the final outcome remained the same at the second telling. 


(ii) With the local elections and mayoral contest fast approaching for our second debate we turned to motion of whether 'London needs a Mayor?'

The junior group argued that London did not need a Mayor and that this was an unnecessary cost. The senior group voted unanimously in favour of the idea - saying that the position put London on the map, but nevertheless the group wanted more work on knife crime, tourism/welcome for international visitors, and improving the transport network. 


(iii) In the senior group we also looked at the motion: 'This House would ban TikTok?' following the legislation in the USA and President Biden's plans. The group rejected the motion at both tellings, but did not think TikTok should remain 'as is'. The group sought to emphasise the need for changes to security, age limits with enforcement and education for better awareness. 


In the final section of each session we turned to values and leadership - what mattered more of fairness, trust, kindness and intelligence? What do we look for in leaders? 

The junior group valued intelligence and fairness above the others, and the senior group agreed - arguing that intelligence was vital for decision making and in turn building trust with people. 


A super set of debates and discussion - well done all! 

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