Clifton College Website

Student Contributions

Chris Weale
Upper Sixth
East Town

Modern Language Debates

Modern Language Debates

In recent years the emphasis on debating has increased. Therefore we probably shouldn’t be surprised that last Monday saw debating at Clifton in a new guise. Instead of debating in English, a group of Sixth Form linguists had been tasked with preparing speeches on a wide range of topics, including the environment, technology and social integration.

The evening began with an amicable meeting in the Newbolt Room where students from Badminton and Colston’s were welcomed and fed. All students had speeches prepared, with all aspects of the topic revised, and were awaiting Mr Siddons’ order to start.

Profile of a Modern Languages debate:
One of the first debates was between Clifton’s French students and those of Badminton. The motion which was put forward by Clifton was that “Communication technology isolates us from the world in which we live”. With Pippa Robinson as the chairlady for the debate, James Webb started proceedings with an eloquent speech on how, physically, modern technology tends to decrease the amount of time that humans spend together, interacting face to face. This was then followed by the first speaker from Badminton School who countered the previous arguments with a very clear and developed level of language. She stated how it allows interaction with many people in different parts of the world when otherwise they would not be able to hear from each other. Next to the podium was Chris Weale from Clifton who touched upon the emotional ways in which modern technology has led to a reduction in one’s capacity to communicate with the wider world. Then after the second speaker from Badminton had finished her speech that had further developed the argument, the chairlady opened the debate to the floor, who were permitted a question to either of the teams, to which the third speakers would respond. Zoe Ward from Worcester House offered a question to Badminton which was responded to well by the opposition.

The debate, after the third speakers had concluded eruditely for their respective sides, was considered a draw by the teaching staff from both schools. They commented on the level of language used and how all speakers had managed to engage with the audience whilst speaking.

The event is hoped to be a yearly occurrence henceforth and, with such enthusiasm and ability as I witnessed last Monday, it is not at all difficult to see why.

Well done to all who took part!

23 November 2011

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