“By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result?”
– C.S. Lewis
There is nothing quite as good as an argument; unless, perhaps, it’s a debate. It’s the thrill and the rush of attacking, dodging around a point, striking them where we think they are weakest. It’s the small shock of adrenaline as you come upon a point of information, a rather savage creature indeed, and the acrid buzz when you step from the stage wondering why you only remember your best points after it’s over.
A good debater has “confidence, clarity, passion and knowledge” according Mrs Watson-Saunders who has been leading the Debating Society successfully for eight years. With the recent victories in the Rotary Club public speaking competitions and a proud history of Oxford Union, UNA and Youth Speaks, debating is a truly defining feature of Worth School.
“I’ve always believed that the Society should be somewhere where people can share ideas; where they can come and talk about current affairs and ethical issues” she explains. “For me, setting up the Society was all about opening up debating for everybody; it’s a valuable skill. And I wanted it to be fun, a chance to share an opinion and have it questioned.”
The Debating Society has covered topics ranging from balloons to biscuits and pretty much everything in between; there is definitely something for everyone. Whether it’s listening, thinking or acting: “the only way to learn is through experiencing; watch, learn, listen, then have a go yourself”.
“A good debater needs to be a bit of a chameleon,” comments Oliver Pateman, our most recent committee chairman, “it helps if they can, at least mentally, change their personal political allegiance and see things from a different point of view … Aside from this, I would suggest that a sprinkling of good vocabulary, a dash of quick wittedness and liberal helpings of erudition would combine to make an unstoppable debater.”
There is something at the Worth School Debating Society for everybody, whether you jump in head-first or take a back seat and admire the sheer talent of some of our speakers. The community is one of the best I’ve seen – everyone has a strong opinion or something to say. Although Mrs Watson-Saunders is leaving us at the end of this academic year, we will have a new Head of Debating next year to build on the Society’s successes, lots more sandwich lunches and a variety of hot topics to discuss. So Worth School, get debating!