It was lovely to join with Nimble minds today, I greatly enjoyed introducing the students to the world of debating and was extremely impressed by all participants, both for their energy and enthusiasm, as well as for quality of their arguments and ability to present.
We began the session by discussing some of the core debating skills including body language, use of evidence and how to structure an argument effectively.
We then moved into the first of two debates, asking whether or not students should have to do homework. We divided the group into two teams and following a period of guided preparation we held our first debate with students presenting their arguments in front of the group and fielding questions from the opposition. This was a very impressive first effort, with some clear arguments, use of evidence and confident presentation.
For our second debate, by popular demand amongst the group we discussed whether dogs are better than cats? Again, we divided the class for a period of guided preparation followed by the debate, and again I was impressed by both and their presentations.
At the end of each debate we encourage students to provide constructive criticism and positive feedback to their contemporaries, a valuable exercise in helping students develop awareness of their performance.