Isabelle at the IDEA Fellows workshop
This week, as an intern, I was invited to attend two training sessions which were held for the future debating trainers who will be taking part in the World Debate Club. This was an opportunity for me to learn more about the World Debate Club through the different debating workshops. During these sessions, I met students and working professionals, with various backgrounds in debating, as we gathered together in a very central location by Leicester Square in London.
The first training session held on Monday 24th July was directed to a specific experienced debate audience. I found the benefit of this resulted in a very focused and in-depth session which allowed me to grasp a greater understanding of the techniques and skills used in the debating world and the World Debate Club. This training session used two debates as an example.
The first debate was ‘THBT Africa should have a common currency’. Our first task was to analyse the motion in order to identify the key arguments on both sides, consider which mechanisms could be used for this policy and the best way to implement it. This spurred us to think critically about the consequences for either side of the motion if were to pass. We were encouraged to play devil's advocate and really consider both sides of the argument, thus allowing a greater general understanding of debate itself.
The second debate in this training was ‘THBT the Baltic States should ban Russian State television’. This debate was more competitive and involved three five-minute speeches after some time given for independent preparation. Here I decided to observe the debate which used a British Parliamentary format. This was very interesting to watch as I witnessed the public speaking skills, critical thinking, and the art of persuasion directly from the candidates. At the end of this debate, constructive feedback was given for those who wanted to improve on their skills which will benefit them in the future. This was also interesting to listen to as it gave me an opportunity to reflect on the debate, where I would not have picked up the areas of improvement.
IDEA Fellows Workshop
The second training session held on Wednesday 26th July had a higher turnout which consisted of the working professionals who will be potentially training in the programme. Before this session I took the opportunity to speak with many of them and got to learn more about their different backgrounds. We started with an induction which allowed new IDEA fellows to be introduced and understand more about the programme itself, why it is important, and how debating can be used positively in wider society.
Following this, two workshops were held. The first was ‘Public Speaking 101’. This workshop, by Manish Kataria, highlighted the importance of public speaking and how to be effective whilst speaking. We were encouraged to speak for one minute using ‘Table topics’. These are thought provoking questions such as ‘If you were to go back to live in any period of history, which would it be and why?’. These opened up areas for discussion and allowed us to interact with each other further.
The second workshop was held by Duncan Crowe, this was the ‘Debate Educators Workshop for Fellows’. The structure within the World Debate Club was explained in depth as well as the different formats of debate. I found this was useful as someone with a limited background in debating. These were later used by the audience as they were involved in two motion analysis’ and a line debate at the end of the session. The line debate encouraged a focused discussion on ‘TBHT University tuition should be free’, where both sides responded back and forth with new points and responses. This enabled us to challenge the opposing side, making us think critically and quickly. Just as the future young debaters will, when the World Debate Club starts for many of them in the new academic year.
Overall, these sessions were highly informative and perhaps one day I may return as a volunteer.
Take a leaflet and sign up to be an IDEA Fellow!