On Friday 28 August, Mr Clendinning and I visited The Year 6 Centre to deliver a workshop on the Fundamentals of Debating. We were warmly welcomed by Year 6, who were enthusiastic and eager to improve their public speaking skills.

Our learning intention for the workshop was to teach students about the purpose, roles and rules required to engage in a skilful debate. Students also had an opportunity to view and brainstorm a variety of topics and learn how to develop their own.

After a short presentation by Mr Clendinning, the students formed groups and practised creating their topic statements that proposed an idea or a change in society. Some example topics were:

  • That cooking classes should be compulsory for all students at school
  • That animal testing should be banned
  • That Australia should accept more refugees

With a focus on ‘should’ debates, students were asked to brainstorm a list of reasons why their team’s point of view was correct and then organise these ideas into groups. We also introduced the idea of ‘stakeholders’ and modelled how to incorporate evidence to deliver a convincing argument.

It was so pleasing to see Year 6 engaged in this group workshop and we look forward to seeing them in the Senior School next year.

Justine Zarebski | Acting Assistant Head of English