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IDEA UK: THBT you can never have too much of a good thing.

Is there such thing as too much of a good thing? That was the starting point for a debate at Camden Woodcraft folk, the first debate in collaboration between IDEA and CoachBright.

The following is an edited blog post from CoachBright:

We met with an enthusiastic group of sixteen younger people, 12-16, with big opinions, big voices, and plenty of ideas. Over two sessions we used our IDEA training to teach this group to constructively debate, and they really enjoyed it. We taught the younger people the core skills of debating and speaking publically and practiced using some of the fun and creative tools provided by IDEA. A particular favorite was debate tennis. Lining the group up in rows facing one another for a speed fire round of debating. It was difficult at first to keep the younger people (and some of the Woodcraft Leaders!) from simply answering back with an unstructured argument, but a reminder of the ground rules of debating, and in particular the SEXI outline worked very well. Over the course of the first session we saw a lot of progress and how the tips and IDEA debating style that we had taught the younger people really had worked.

The second session was a chance for the younger people to have a longer debate. This house believes that you can never have too much of a good thing. We had asked them to think about the topic and to identify any occasions during their week where they had witnessed too much of a good thing. Most had stories to share; too much homework, too much candy, too much television…Some were very keen to share that they had been learning about debating at school and impressed teachers by letting them know they had been on an IDEA debate workshop.

The second session was great! The younger people really worked hard to form strong cohesion in their teams. The debate went on for around 25minutes and the teams were demonstrating eloquent arguments and rebuttals, using examples such as the armed forces, sugary foods, and alcohol to talk about having ‘too much’ of something and whether is was good or bad.

“The Coachbright debate sessions were a brilliant plugin to the programme of education we deliver for the young people at Woodcraft Folk group nights. We found that the children had a better idea of the skills and techniques to apply in debate, but also simply got more practise at public speaking which should boost their confidence at group nights.” - Tom G, Venturer Woodcraft Folk Leader

We rounded up the session with some obligatory chocolate, but more importantly asked the younger people to reflect on what they’d learned over the two weeks lead by CoachBright. The biggest lesson was that debating is actually more difficult that people give it credit for, and that they now understood more about what it takes to argue and debate in a constructive and fair way…great insight from some younger people, especially after weeks of seeing some bad examples in the run up to the election!

Contact Alex Helling

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