We caught up Florence Stanton, Head of Education of the Pearson College London Student Association about the most recent student debate!
With media revolving heavily around the upcoming EU referendum and the complicated issues surrounding it, it felt fitting to have a debate on the matter. On Wednesday 16th of March a group of students, plus lecturers Ben Hughes and John Clifford attended the debating event at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. With pizza ordered and the topic at hand needing little introduction, teams were created and got to work immediately on how to argue for their house.
With us judges sitting at the front and a timer ready we began the debate using the British Parliamentary style (used at World Championships and international competitions). Students and lecturers spoke in turn to persuade the other team that their house’s belief held the best future for the UK. Not only were the expected economic points made, but points about the social and geo-political aspects too. With students from both Italy and Ukraine present it made for many interesting and emotive points to be made about personal experience and the potential impact on people, both from the EU or otherwise. It is so easy to forget that lives could be affected (for better or worse) when economic arguments seem to be at the core of all politician’s speeches lately. Some fantastic points were made by both teams, despite many interruptions in the form of points of information from students channelling their inner politician.
Deciding on a winner was incredibly tough as some extremely valid and persuading points were made on both sides, however after some deliberation it was decided that the “leave” campaigners won, as a result of better time usage and better structure to their individual 5 minute speeches.
Debating allows students to develop their public speaking skills and learn how to handle tricky points of information in an eloquent and knowledgeable manner. A lot of trial and error goes on in learning how to meet the time limit and plan the structure well, but students tend to get to grips with this quickly. It is a great opportunity to hear other opinions and broaden your mind, as well as get some free food! Hopefully in the new academic year we can continue developing our debating society and build a team to compete at inter-university competitions.
Make sure to register to vote in the upcoming EU referendum (and London mayoral elections) by 18th April!