Sep 282016
 
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A Beautiful Debate

This year was the second year that St Chris has participated in the World Schools Debate Academy and this trip proved to be as educational and beautiful as the last. In the first half of the Academy, students (and teachers) attended sessions to improve their skills in structuring arguments, avoiding fallacies and honing their debating technique. They also attended sessions on a wide range of fascinating topics such as women’s rights, fair trade, social politics and the issues surrounding video games. These were run by students and professors who are based at a variety of universities from across the world.

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During the second half of the Academy, there was a tournament. Students chose to team up with students from other schools and passionately argued their cases for and against motions such as allowing performance-enhancing drugs in sport, whether NATO should be disbanded, whether there should be limits placed on freedom of speech and whether or not feminist organisations should allow male members. The debates were heated and interesting, and our students did themselves justice, particularly in the light of the fact that some of them had actually done very little debating before. A particular mention must go to the team consisting of Aditya and Llewellyn (and a student from another school), as they reached the semi-final. This was no mean feat, as they were up against some very experienced national teams. Special credit goes to Llewellyn, who came fifth in the ranking of speakers overall. This was a terrific achievement given that there were almost 150 students participating.

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In amongst all the learning, there was time to go for beautiful walks in the fresh alpine air, and to visit stunning Lake Bled. Many ice creams were eaten, many new international friendships were formed, and students (and staff) returned fulfilled and excited about all of their experiences.