This is just an introductory post to explain what this debate series is all about and how it has been organized. Some of the people who read my blog are not in Sec 3, and some might not even be Swiss students, so here goes: the debates were organized to get more people to speak up in class, to allow students to learn and have fun while doing it, and to help the classes to choose their speakers for the inter-class debates next term. Of course there are a lot more objectives- serious ones to do with what I actually want the students to learn from the experience, and how it all ties in with the syllabus; but this is my blog. So if I don’t want to cover all that I don’t have to. (LOVING this!)
The students were asked to organize themselves into groups of 5, in which 2 would be incharge of research, 2 would do the speaking, and one would be either the chairperson or timekeeper for the debate (depending on whether they were from the proposing team or the opposing team). They were also asked to team up with another group, and both together would come up with a motion to debate- one group would propose and the other would oppose. Some classes had a lot of difficulty with this part, but it was a good lesson in teamwork and initiative.
Each group also had to have a leader who would be responsible for writing up the Reflections for the group, and these covered the logistical aspect as well as the learning points of the experience.
Each debate was supposed to take only 15 minutes, but we extended the time a little, because we tried out the Intelligence Squared practice of taking a vote before and after the debate, to decide the winner according to who could best sway the audience members over to their side. As you will see from the posts related to specific debates, some very interesting patterns were observed. Each speaker was allowed to speak for 3 minutes, and this restriction created its own set of challenges.
Well, that’s about it. The next post will be on an actual debate. I will not mention any names, but I will mention the class, because credit should be given where it is due. Feel free to jump in and comment.