A report by Eddie Booth, ESU Oracy Coach
As a small two-person team, Elle McLoughlin and I were nervous as we touched down in Romania late on a Saturday night. Neither of us had taught debating abroad before. As it was, the week we spent teaching in Romania was among the most rewarding and enjoyable times of my life.
We should start with the dedication shown by the students at the school we were working within. Though a large age range existed, our work was made easier by their enthusiasm.
We began the course by going over the principles of debating and the rules of various formats. For the next two sessions, we worked on speech making and rebuttal, ensuring that they became used to thinking on their feet with limited prep time prior to speeches. On Thursday and Friday, we decided to split the group in two: Elle took the younger students through the beginning stages of developing arguments and the thought process behind them; in the older group, I began to teach motion analysis, giving the more mature students the chance to discuss ethical and moral debates and how they should be approached.
The entire week was gearing up towards three debates on Saturday, two from the younger group and then a full British Parliamentary debate from the older group. The progress made by the younger group was quite incredible. They had developed a lovely style of debating, and their speeches impressed us as they overcame a language barrier to deliver developed and impressive analysis. In the older group, the students showed an admirable grasp of the individual roles expected of them, with two exceptional whip speakers and a fine definition from the Prime Minister.
We would also like to comment on the incredible hospitality we encountered from our hosts, who made us feel thoroughly at home and welcome in Constanta. The sightseeing in the evenings allowed us to bond with the students and talk to them about debating in a real world setting, which was hugely rewarding. We will miss them and the city greatly.
Find out more about our debate tours.