I have read a few posts recently about the value of debating in a school and wanted to add to the posts already here with another cry for debating to be taught as a discreet skill and not forced to flower amongst the weeds and detritus of a lunchtime club. I am so lucky at UCGS to get two hours every week with my Year 12 team – fully timetabled. This allows me to use the time to research and to debate, even to undertake a blind debate from time to time, due to helpful timetabling. Luxury.
Grammar, Dialectic and Rhetoric are the cornerstones of a serious Classical Education model. Not just a grounding of knowledge, but an ability to challenge perceived truths and to be able to express views coherently to an audience. I read recently the book Trivium 21c by Martin Robinson, a book that looks at the possibility of re-integrating the Trivium model into a 21st Century school and it is exciting stuff. Please get hold of a copy and read it, your eyes will be opened, if they aren’t already, to the power of debate.
I have added a link to the latest debate that my 12s have taken part in: This house believes Grammar Schools to be detrimental to the education system of the UK. Tricky stuff for Grammar School students!
OK, so the argument is not always deep and there are some shocking assumptions made about attitudes to Grammar Schools amongst the teaching profession which made me wish that I had taken more of a focused role in establishing the fundamental grammar of the argument, but I plead half term and the fact that I want this to be all their own work. Please, just enjoy the passion, the dialectic which emerges and particularly the rhetoric on display here. 16 and 17 year olds showing grit, experiencing flow and having a ball!