NEW TO DEBATING
Any teacher knows that their students have a lot to say but that they don’t always have the skills with which to express themselves.
Debating is a great way of practising speaking and listening skills, either through a debate club or through incorporating debate activities into your lesson plans for other subjects. If you’ve never tried debating before, or you’re not sure how it can help you, here’s where to start!
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All our teaching, resources and competitions are underpinned by four key skill sets: Reasoning and Evidence; Listening and Response; Expression and Delivery and Organisation and Prioritisation.
Below you’ll find more information on each skill set, as well as free activity resources to practise each one. So whether you want to improve your students’ questioning skills, or to help them to structure their arguments more clearly, we have the resources you need.
Need a quick ice-breaker at the beginning of a lesson?
Want the whole class to recap on what was covered last week – and enjoy it? These fun games can be used in any classroom – from maths and biology to history and RE – and are guaranteed to get everyone talking, and listening, to each other. Why not try one today and see how easy it is to bring oracy into your classroom?
Debate formats for schools
By asking students to take different sides in an argument and then to justify those sides, debate is a great way of improving speaking and listening skills, as well as critical thought and prioritisation skills.
Debates can be as simple or as formal as you like, from a fun balloon debate on a relevant topic to a more structured town hall meeting which gives students an insight into how many public decisions are made. Competitive debates have an extra level of ‘spice’ or kudos attached, with the prospect of winning a motivating factor for many students.
Public Speaking Tips
Polls show that many people list public speaking as their number one fear, ahead even of our fear of death. But with a little know-how and, crucially, some practice, speaking in public can become something that anyone, student or adult, can actively enjoy and look forward to.
On the links below, comedian and ESU alumnus Rory Bremner tells us what he learned from the Public Speaking Competition, which he won in 1979, and we share some hints and tips for students taking the competition’s roles of speaker, questioner or chair.