ETSS Wicklow is offering
a new short course in Debating that aims to promote and encourage the skills
of public speaking, critical thinking, logical and argumentative persuasion. A weekly class allows students to explore a wide
range of local and global topics and issues which are then discussed and
debated. Debate motions are often proposed by the pupils themselves.
The ancient Socratic art
of Debating nurtures the 21st century skills of creativity, critical
thinking, communication, and collaboration. It empowers
students to learn by putting forward cogent, evidence-backed arguments. They can also disagree
and engage constructively with people with differing views. Over the three
years of the course, students will explore and become proficient in a wide
variety of debating formats and styles.
Some examples, but not exhaustive are:
- Parliamentary debate
- Online debate
- Team debate
- Legislative debate
- Mock Trial
- Lincoln-Douglas debate
Students will benefit
- An academic boost - Debate will help students improve in the areas of writing, reading and comprehension,
listening, note-taking, research, data analysis, evidence-based reasoning, and
overall academic performance.
- Essential life skills - Debaters acquire unique educational benefits
as they learn and develop skills far beyond what can be learnt in any other mainstream
- Collaboration & leadership
skills - Students with teammates prepare by
dividing tasks, researching, and negotiating how they will consolidate their
findings collectively as a unified team.
- Critical thinking - Students learn patience and the importance of listening attentively
to opponents, while thinking critically to define questions that will challenge
assumptions. Students must formulate out-of-the-box proposals and innovative solutions
to real-world issues, whether in healthcare, education, climate change,
technology, government, or other social impact areas.
EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENTS:LEARNING OUTCOMES:
Strand 1: Communicating
Strand 2: Thinking Critically
Strand 3: Organisation &
Strand 4: Investigating
For this new short course some of the learning outcomes lend themselves
to once-off assessment, others to assessment on an ongoing basis as students
engage in different learning activities such as discussing, rehearsing,
explaining, researching, presenting, planning and taking action.
In these contexts, students with their teachers and peers reflect upon
and make judgements about their own and others’ learning by looking at the
quality of particular pieces of work. They plan the next steps in their
learning based on feedback they give and receive.
Ongoing assessment can support the student in their learning journey and
in preparing for the Classroom-Based Assessment related to this short
LANDMARKS IN THE HISTORY OF DEBATING
- In ancient Greece,
the philosopher Socrates used debate as a way of understanding the
world by drawing out answers from his followers.
- In Rome, Cicero was
famed for his rhetoric and ability to show up weaknesses in government.
Ultimately he paid for the power of his speechmaking with his life.
- Medieval England saw the
rise of Parliament in order to aid the Kings. In fact Parliament is derived
from the French word 'parler' (to speak). As Parliament evolved
however, it went beyond simply granting taxes and listening to the
King, instead becoming a place of debate and policy.
- In the 1960 Presidential
election, debates were used for the first time between the two challengers- and
they were televised. Famously, those who listened to the radio thought Richard
Nixon had won, while those who watched on television believed the
more charismatic John Kennedy had won. Kennedy's election victory is
often attributed to his performances in these debates.