b_400_0_16777215_00_images_bilderartikel_2015_16_AllanKopie.jpg

Introducing the students to debating

On Monday, 11th and Tuesday, 12th April students from various third, fourth and fifth classes met in the project room to start debates on different topics in the way debating is commonly practiced in Britain. On Tuesday, after an introduction on the history of debating in ancient Greece and how it developed in different countries throughout the years, Nick Allen referred to the many European parliaments and how the seats in those debating rooms are set up to how history in those countries has developed the way, debating is thought to be seen and practiced by their populations. Following these words, Nick made everyone participating in the course aware of the fact that the course will most likely be the first experience in the so called “British-debating” the candidates will have ever made in their life, therefore hesitation would be understandable, yet unproductive and disruptive in the entirety of the discourse.

Choosing the topics for the debate

Halfway through the course, Mr. Allen invited the students to think about recent topics that were of great interest to them, preferably highly controversial and generally a good fit to carry an approximately 30 minute long discussion all the way through. The themes that came up and most participants agreed on commonly after the talking had been done were as follows:

  1. Gay marriage

Debating Organisation

By hand voting the participants could choose which of those two topics they found more interesting as well as choosing whether they would want to bring up arguments in favour or against the topics. Additionally the groups had to decide internally on whom of their members wanted to be part of the so-called “front benches”, which were obliged to present the points they had come up with, or to be part of the “back benches”, which would ask questions at the end of the brief presentations to dissolve all possible misunderstandings and misconceptions. After completion of that process, the different groups would meet in their separate small-sized groups to prepare points that could be used either to represent the house’s party which was in favour or against the passing of the proposed bill, depending on the party’s position. At the end of each of the two themes Mr. Speaker, Nick Allen, would end the debate and invite the back benches to vote for or against the passing of the proposal.

The next step in the discussion started when the students arranged the benches and chairs to form a debating structure almost equal to the one seen in the British House of Common. The two aforementioned themes were then first and foremost presented by the front benches to then go through the previously mentioned process of debating and be voted upon at the very end.

Debating results and votes

The proposal for topic a) Mr. President, Donald Trump was rejected with the reasoning that international politics would be in high danger if another very dominant figure were to make their presence (Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad.)

Unlike the first, proposal b) Gay marriage was accepted due to the overwhelming majority of voters agreeing on the argument that homosexual and otherwise sexually oriented people wouldn’t inflict any damage or harm heterosexual marriage by lessening their worth in any way.

At 12.15 pm Nick Allen ended the discourse by showing his appreciation and full dedication towards the participants of the discourse and by pointing out how much some of the students have evolved personally and linguistically over the years.

Jakob Egger, 5A