French debating group and competition
Our current Y13 and Y12 students are enthusiastically continuing the very successful French debating group which we started 3 years ago. The students meet weekly to debate topics of interest in French. They are able to discuss complex issues with increasing flair, responding to and challenging ideas, increasing their listening and speaking skills.
Recently 4 of our Y13 students competed in the regional round of Joutes Oratoires, the national French debating competition, at the Grammar School at Leeds. Huge congratulations go to Rebekah Burland, Laurence Griffin, Imogen Harter-Jones and Holly Melvin for their exciting and inspired debating throughout the challenging afternoon.
They had three motions to prepare in advance of the competition:
- Young people shouldn’t have to go to school anymore. It would be better if they did their studying on the internet.
- We should close the borders to immigrants.
- It is more difficult to be a parent today than previously.
Both teams convincingly won their group first rounds; Rebekah and Imogen were narrowly beaten in the second round, and Laurence and Holly were again narrowly beaten in the semi-final. The team that defeated both went on to be the eventual winners. Both our teams acquitted themselves marvellously and were most impressive in all their debates.
We look forward now to continuing our French debate club with this wonderful experience to add to the mix!
By Imogen Harter-Jones:
Recently I competed in a regional French debating competition at The Grammar School at Leeds with 3 other students from the A2 French class. Myself and Rebekah Burland were a team, and Holly Melvin and Laurence Griffin were another. Teams from as far away as Newcastle, Ripon and Durham travelled to Leeds to take part. There were approximately 30 students taking part in the French debates.
It was a fun and intellectually challenging experience as we had to be able to convincingly and competently debate both sides of each motion in French as sides were picked by a coin toss a minute before each debate commenced.
I really enjoyed the experience as it was great to be able to express myself fluently in French whilst debating challenging contemporary issues. Interestingly, my partner Rebekah Burland and I found it easier not debating our own actual opinions as it is often easier when debating in a foreign language to debate with your head, not your heart! The competition was won by a brother and sister team from Newcastle but we all did really well and were knocked out by the winning pair. Not only was it an enriching and exciting once in a lifetime experience, I feel that my French speaking skills in general have improved as a result as we had regular practice debates and preparation sessions. I would highly recommend anyone taking A level languages next year to have go as, let’s face it, how many times are you going to get another chance to participate in a French debating competition!