Debating at Globe
At Globe we are determined to empower all pupils to use their voices effectively. A key way in which we develop this characteristic is through teaching debating.
Debating is when students are given a statement around important topical and social issues. The teams compose and deliver arguments from each side. By doing this the children are learning more about the world they live in and their place within it as local, national and global citizens.
Debating Club is for children to broaden their horizon on current affairs and agendas that occur in everyday life. The club allows the children to exchange ideas and express their opinions on a wide range of topical and social issues.
Debating Club is for all students in Years 5 and Year 6 and we encourage all children to attend. The club meets on Thursdays, from 3:30 – 4.30pm and 48 children attend each year. During the session the children learn the skills and language required for debating.
What We Do
We work with Debate Mate who send in trained mentors to develop the students’ debating skills and prepare them for competitions. Through attending the club they get to discuss current, political, social and moral issues in the UK as well as abroad.
Throughout their time in the debating club the mentors work with the students on improving their speaking and listening skills and develop skills such as leadership, teamwork and confidence. The debating club enables the students to engage with the world beyond their classroom and in doing so address issues that affect them.
Our debating club have held show debates within the school on a topical issue to share what the students have learnt and also to encourage others to join the club. As a result of this the debating club is extremely popular and has around 48 members each year.
Why Do We Do It?
There are many benefits to be gained from debating namely confidence, soft skills and academic achievement.
Students are taught the skills of public speaking and given the necessary tools to develop arguments and respond to arguments, become engaging and charismatic speakers with the confidence to meet and compete against students from other schools.
Students that are taught how to debate learn how to value their own voice more and use it more effectively. This ability leads to a boost in their confidence and as a result they are far more engaged in discussions both in their classrooms and in their life.
The skills which higher and further educational institutions as well as employers find most valuable are communication skills, resilience, independence and critical thinking. All of these skills are developed by debating. This means that by giving our students the opportunity to debate we are setting our students up with the best chance to success in life, in their studies and in their working life.
Debating encourages critical reflection on a wide variety of moral, social and political issues facing society today. It enables students to grow in their understanding and appreciation of the democratic structure of the UK. It encourages our students to be engaged in the process and to be able to make rational and well informed judgements regarding the information presented to them. They are taught how to turn facts and statistics into a strong argument. How to use the right tone, pace, language and body language to engage an audience and convey their argument. How to listen and respond critically to the other side’s argument and use what they hear to develop a reasoned response. Also how to structure your speaking and when to say the things you want to say.
Debating not only helps students to develop their research and literacy skills but also helps to equip students with vital skills such as verbal intelligence and higher order thinking skills. Research proves there is a positive impact in the classroom from students learning how to debate with students making additional progress compared to those students that do not learn how to debate. Furthermore, debating also helps to raise their expectations and aspirations for the future.
Debate Mate is a registered charity that hires top university students who are skilled debaters to become inspirational peer mentors who then work with the school to run after-school debate clubs across the country. Students take part in a 17 week programme at primary school level and can go on to work with them at secondary school level too.
They offer students the chance to develop their debating skills and participate in local and national competitions. We have attended and watched live debates at Queen Mary and Westfield University of London and the Emmanuel Centre in London.
Competitions - Our Successes!
We enter several teams of children from the Debating Club into debating competitions each year where our students face teams from across London. In doing this, the students develop independence, confidence and resilience which they then transfer into their lives with huge benefits.
'Urban Debate League’ Round 1 – won 5 debates and lost 1 debate
'Urban Debate League’ Round 2 – won 3 debates and lost 3 debates
We are ranked 7th in the National League Table and 5th in the London League Table.
‘Finals of the Urban Debate League’ – we won a place in the finals but due to the pandemic it has been postponed.
You are able to participate if you are one of the top ten schools in the league.
‘Debate Mate Cup’ – postponed
The children research, discuss and present persuasive arguments to the group. It is a lot of fun. Here are some of the topics we have debated:
This house would ban all pets.
This house would reduce summer holidays to three weeks.
This house would ban children under the age of 16 to enter televised talent shows.
This house believes that the internet does more harm than good.
This house would allow students to elect their headteacher.
This house believes that climate change is the biggest threat to humanity.
This house would ban zoos.
This house would ban children from watching TV during the week.
This house believes everyone should be paid the same no matter what job they do.
This house would ban exams.
Rules of Debating
There are two teams of four. One side is the Proposition and the other is the Opposition team. The first team to speak is always the Proposition as they are the ones bringing the motion. They are also the last to speak.
Speeches are three minutes in length, four students will speak in each debate. Students must remain in their teams for the entire debate.
The first 30 minutes of each students' speech is protected time and the last 30 minutes. During the rest of the two minutes the opposing team can be used as ‘points of information’ which can be accepted or declined by the speaker.
After the third speaker from each team has spoken members of the audience can ask questions. These are called ‘floor questions’. Both teams have a few minutes to discuss the questions and how they will answer them before the final speaker in each team has to answer the floor questions and deliver their speech. The final speaker also has three minutes to speak but all of their time is protected and the opposing team cannot ask any points of information.
At the end of each debate the judge will give their decision as to which team won and lost the debate, as well as feedback for both teams.
Motion is a statement that usually sets the topic for the given debate.
Proposition team are the team that are bringing the motion to the table.
Opposition team are the team that are disagreeing with the motion.
Point of information is when the opposing team asks questions to clarify what is being said or when they believe the team are making conflicting points.
Floor questions are questions asked by the audience to either team before the final member of each team speaks.
Prepared debates means that the teams have been told the motion beforehand so they have time to prepare for it. However, they do not know which side they will be on.
Unprepared debates means the team find out the motion and which side they will be on 15 minutes before the debate and have to use that time to prepare as a team without any help.
Sounds complicated but it really isn’t, ask the children!