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Westminster Cathedral Choir School - Debating & Public Speaking Workshop - 29 June 2022

It was great to work with WCCS in a Debating and Public Speaking Workshop for their finalists.

Their Year 8 pupils showed tremendous application, aptitude and talent for presentation, rhetoric and wider argumentation skills.

The session was split into three parts:

(i) Skills and top tips for public speaking - from interviews to class presentations, to debating - these included posture and active listening, as well as rhetorical devices.

(ii) A more philosophical debate (on the back of the topical Queen's historic Platinum Jubilee) - asking whether 'This House would prefer a monarchy to a republic'.

(iii) The classic current affairs motion, on government legislation around electric cars - 'This House would implement the ban in 2030 on the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars'.

The first debate saw the majority reject the motion, with the group substantively in favour of republicanism; whilst the 2030 ban was carried but only by a narrow margin. Voting remained relatively consistent throughout the session with only minor changes at the second telling.

These were keenly and strongly argued topics, with naturally entrenched views on both sides, but we were thrilled to see active listening and the group picking up on arguments and points they had not heard before. We were impressed too with the planning and teamwork that took place and the extensive set of Points of Information (POIs).

The quality of speeches and the interest in the subjects from the finalists means there is much to expect and anticipate with the coming competition with St Philip's School this week!

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