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The Socratic Club - 3rd March



It was super to see the progress of our group and to welcome some new faces to our Socratic Club sessions post 'Half Term'. Our skill focus this week looked at POIs and how best to implement these important interjections during debating competitions and weekly discussions. 


Our warm up questions asked:

'If you could study a new language, what would it be and why?' & in addition, 'If you could take up a new subject, what would it be and why?'

This saw a wide range of options including amongst others Mandarin, Greek, Cantonese, Latin, Arabic, Italian, Ukrainian, German and Punjabi - with excellent explanation in each case, from widening cultural understanding to business opportunities in the future, to spending time with friends and family. It was also marvellous to see many of the group consider Classics - as important to wider knowledge of other subjects in the curriculum, with Latin as the foundation of so much of language. 

Our newsrounds were as always extremely impressive including reference to: Space exploration and Moon landings, the WWII Portsmouth bomb, Football results, the two-year anniversary of the War in Ukraine, the conflict in Gaza, the funeral of Alexei Navalny and the forthcoming budget. 


Our debating motions:


With The Today Programme (on the BBC in the UK) covering the story of exploration in the Antarctica and our very own Socratic colleague Georgina having just been on an expedition there, we looked at the motion:

(i) 'This House would allow tourism to Antarctica'.   

Voting was split throughout (in both Junior and Senior sessions) - with a majority in favour of only specialists visiting, i.e Scientists and Researchers. 

It was strongly felt that experience, time spent in Antarctica helped with learning about this precious space and raising awareness more generally, but the risks of mass tourism would be too great, not least given the carbon footprint of such visits. Checks and balances (perhaps having a cap on the 100,000 record hit this year) biosecurity and expeditions accompanied by professional researchers were put forward as ways of allowing tourism to continue. 


Our second debate followed the Government announcement on phone use in schools, with the motion:

(ii) 'This House would ban phones in school'.

Here the Junior and Senior Group differed significantly in voting. The Junior Group rejected the motion at both tellings with considerable concerns over distraction from education and not socialising with your friends during break time. The Senior Group could see benefits in terms of boarding schools and walking home from school in London. In addition, it was also seen as a helpful back-up to a laptop/i-pad for those using devices in school for learning. 


In the Junior Group, we also looked at an Unseen - a painting of Henry VII - and we looked at why this image did not shown a crown, and how the Tudor dynasty sought to personalise image.  


Our final discussion in the Senior Session looked at the motion:

(iii) 'This House would give more weapons and aid to Ukraine'. Here voting remained 50/50 - with considerable concern on escalating the conflict following President Macron's words that talked of potential boots on the ground. Many felt that it was crucial Ukraine did not lose, but felt that other world priorities called for aid and resources at the present moment. No one in the group voted for 'boots on the ground' and the threat of Nuclear conflict played heavily. At the same time there was also a concern that not helping Ukraine might follow the pattern of a 1930s appeasement strategy and that was rejected by the group too.


We ended with ideas for the budget - key priorities. Housing, Healthcare, Education, Law and Order and Defense all featured. However, Healthcare won out as the most important. 


Much looking forward to our competition next weekend!

 

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