Our school organized, for the first time, a friendly debate held here. Our guests were a group of students from San Pedro Nolasco School. Their professor, Thomas Baker, is a pioneer in debates in our country and we have been really lucky to learn from his expertise.
We had already been invited to their school in May, occasion when we got familiar with the formality of this activity. Debates in our country are held according to the World School Debating Championships (WSDC).
Each team has three speakers. First, second and third proposition. Each one presents their viewpoint for 5 minutes. Proposition and opposition teams alternate turns. At the end of each presentation there is a summary speech, which is made by the first or second speaker. The third speaker is not allowed to make the summary speech. Questions to the speaker are not allowed during the first minute, neither the last one. After the first minute, and until minute four students can ask questions to the speaker. The way to do so is raising their hands saying "Point Of Information." In a friendly debate teachers are the judges. Once the debate is finished, teachers provide feedback to both teams.
The feedback must consider team work, persuasive discourse and content.
The debate motion was, “Rich countries should take in refugees”.
Both schools presented a proposition and an opposition team. The performance of four teams in the debate was very good. Their arguments were well prepared and convincing. Each team used statistics, experts’ opinions, and personal testimony to justify their arguments. In the end, judges (Professor Thomas Barker, Miss Catalina Pulido and Miss María José Espínola) congratulated the students for their teamwork, their effort, and also gave valuable tips on how to improve in the future.
We would like to thank Thomas Barker for motivating us to start participating in this activity. We also want to thank his 8th grade students for their rigurosity and companionship. Finally we congratulate our 10th graders for their commitment. It was a positive experience for all the students because it gave them a chance to meet other students, practice their English outside the classroom, do public speaking in front of an audience, acquire skills in doing research, and use critical thinking to support and defend their position.
Our aim is to make students participate in future official tournaments as the ones organized by UNAB and ESU Chile.