Hello! My name’s Anna and I’m facilitating Unloc’s You Speak course in Portsmouth. I want to start by saying this course is BRILLIANT. It lasts 12 weeks and teaches young people in 5 schools across the city the confidence, theory and tricks to become excellent public speakers and debaters. Each week the students spend the first half of the session learning a new skill such as how to speak with clarity and conviction, and the second half debating a contentious topic that they find interesting. Suggestions so far have included debating Trumps idea of teachers needing guns in the classroom, whether smokers should pay for their own smoking related NHS treatment and lighter topics such as the divisive presence of pineapple on pizza.
We’re two weeks into the course so far and the standard of debate is already exceedingly high. The students have been engaging, enthusiastic, inquisitive, keen to learn and passionate about trying new things. We don’t let the students choose which side they are going to debate, ensuring they are able to see issues from either side of the coin. We also look to make sure they understand the effect different backgrounds may have on personal opinions, encouraging a sense of empathy.
This weeks star debater is….
Bobbie-Jo from King Richard School
We looked at formal and informal debating styles this week and she was talented at identifying and clearly articulating features of both. To demonstrate these debate types, we watched a video of MPs debating in the House of Commons, a Portsmouth City Council debate and then performed short ‘informal debate’ dramas. This was to show the spectrum of situations in which debates take place and how setting, language, power and relationships determine the formality of a debate. Bobbie-Jo’s group were acting out a disagreement staged on a bus, where passengers controversially refused to give up their seat for an elderly lady.