Thursday night marked a first for Haygrove School! The MFL block played host to the inaugural Haygrove Debating Society competition. The society, which is comprised of students in Year 10, has only been running for a single term but has already shown lots of potential and interest. The students involved have been working hard, learning about different topics and how to put across a convincing case for each side of the argument.
Working in pairs, the students were put into teams of 4 for each debate and were told which side they would be arguing, regardless of their own personal beliefs. Much like an exam, one of the topics that had been previously revised was put forward and the students had just 15 minutes to come up with convincing but concise arguments. Click here to read about the debating process in more detail.
The first topic was capital punishment/the death penalty. The mature and informed approach to this serious topic was highly commendable and the diverse ideas surrounding ethics and logic, proved for a very interesting debate! After the teams were switched around, they had another 15 minutes to prepared for a surprise, unrevised topic which was: Optimistic About the Future. The quality of debating was of an extremely high standard. Pulling quotes from 70s TV shows, using specific examples and really showing their passion for their side of the argument - The second debate was a seriously impressive display of intelligent thinking and thought provoking themes. The students' ability to react and respond to questions and comments from the opposition was a joy to experience!
We were pleased to welcome the Mayor of Bridgwater, Cllr Diogo Rodrigues, who supported and watched the debates. He commented "It was incredibly impressive and inspiring to see our local young people talk with such passion. Their ability to defend ideas they themselves don't necessarily believe in and, in turn, react so respectfully and in great spirit towards the opposition was a fantastic example of professionalism and maturity in which more people should embody."
Out of the 16 participants, 8 students were selected by the staff judging panel to proceed to represent Haygrove at the regional debating competition in January 2019. Huge congratulations to Todd Watts, Mofi Fagbohun, Heidi Savage, Monica Hall, Freya Haslett, Holly Searle, Chloe Lyon and Spike Perry.
This club is and has been a fantastic tool to allow students to develop their critical thinking and public speaking skills, which will no doubt help them in their future endeavours.
Special thanks goes to everyone that attended, JLT members that assisted on the night, Chairs and Timekeepers, judges and Mr Rodrigues for supporting this special event.