GOZONE Debating would love to see all children learning to speak up and express their ideas.  If they can also learn to listen to others, we have the basis for creating a new way of negotiating rather than fighting to establish the kind of world we want.

Create more challenge

Debating does not have to be an elite sport, everyone can give it a try and improve their speaking ability.  Start young while its fun.

My experience has shown that nothing motivates children like a challenge and clear steps to reach success.  Are students being challenged enough?

Fear about uneven development

When your verbal ability and your ideas are developing faster than your writing, embarrassment can really undermine your progress.  Being a clown or causing a disruption is much safer than letting your peers see that your letters look like chicken scratch foraging free range above and below the lines!! Or  “That”s not how you spell….”

Our colleague in the UK, Gareth Malone detailed these and other  issues a few years back with his Extraordinary School for Boys series on the BBC.  Some boys begin withdrawing and giving up at school at this early stage.

Uneven development can be discouraging in other ways.  Starting with a verbal challenge  makes room for bravado, imagination and gift of the gab which many year 5 and 6’s possess in abundance and it short circuits this awkward gap between thinking and writing speed in some student’s development.

Action, teamwork, gift of the gab      

Once everyone starts brainstorming arguments with their team and jotting down key words- even pictures to help them remember their ideas, handwriting woes seem less important.  Its worth the risk to have the opportunity to speak out and be SEEN and HEARD!!

Some girls might be shy if they are the focus of the whole group but happily offer suggestions with a coloured felt tip marker in an informal group around a big brainstorm sheet. Their confidence grows in a small team.

We look for topics in the news or of current interest in the school community.

That Junior Masterchef is exploiting children

That the Olympics are a waste of money

That cats are the best pets for modern living

The soccer is better than football   (I could not believe the arguments they found)

You won’t believe how much more fun you can have with your learning…..it can be amazing what children can do if they have a challenge they are enjoying.

Debating….just give it a try




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