04 Dec A memorable day debating at Warwick University
Written by Lara and Andreea, Whitley Academy student reporters.
On Saturday November 24th, ten passionate and courageous pupils (and our devoted Mrs Nguyen) from our school met in front of the Chemistry Building at Warwick University, Coventry. We had come to debate against other schools as part of the ‘Warwick Debating Society’, to learn about public speaking, persuasion, and current affairs.
After all the pupils from other schools had arrived, organisers introduced themselves and familiarised us with the regulations and our first debating motion.
At 10:30 am, our first round started. We all quickly moved to the Humanities building, which was located a short distance from the Chemistry Building. Luckily the weather had turned milder, enough for us to feel comfortable to move around in the open.
Nervousness surrounded us as we arrived at our debating room. We were against three older teams of Year 12-13 students, who seemed very composed and determined. However, age is not an obstacle to success. In our first round, Lara and I debated for the eligibility of unemployed peoples’ benefits not to be conditioned. There were words used in the debate that we vaguely understood. In our 15 minutes to prepare for the debate, we managed to mind-map the topic with evidence for our arguments. We did our best, and later, we were congratulated by our opponents when our ages were revealed.
While the Debating Society’s judges were deliberating over the outcome, we got together with our opponents for an informal chat to get to know each other. It was fascinating to find out that two Year 13 students who were on our opponent team were actually from the private American College of Sofia, Bulgaria. We were surprised how well-prepared the other teams were. We learned a lot from this round.
After a short morning break, round 2 approached. With more confidence than last time, we rapidly got to our rooms and started preparing for our motion. This time we were against one of our Whitley teams. Our arguments were more evidenced and better than last time. After getting our results, we knew it was time for our lunch.
There were lots of sandwich choices which all looked scrumptious and healthy. Not only did we eat a fantastic lunch, we heard some incredible opinions:
“I wish I brought a dictionary”– Callum (Year 8)
“Hard, but getting easier and easier”– Lara (Year 8)
“It’s a powerful learning curve. I will be able to do it better next time.” – Hakim (Year 12)
At 2:30pm, round 3 started. This time two of our opponents were from our school, which made it more enjoyable.
In round 4, all of our opponents were from Whitley, which made our lives less stressful and of course, more pleasurable.
Some of the debate topics included:
This House would make all seats in the United Nations Security Council non-permanent.
This House believes that cultural artefacts and treasures should be returned to their country of origin.
This House would ban internet anonymity.
At 5:30pm, we all went back to Mrs Nguyen, feeling full of pride. Even though we didn’t get to the final, everybody had abundant memories and funny stories to tell. We had made impressive progress throughout the day.
There is one more fact we want to share with you: most of the adjudicators were from famous universities around the U.K, including Oxford, Brookes, University College of London, Warwick, and Durham to name but a few.
We shouldn’t say that we are losers, we are winners, because we dared to be there to raise our voices! Thanks for reading our blog.