No arguments here: Blackfriars takes out first debate

Blackfriars Senior A Debating team has kicked off the 2022 season with a win against Scotch College.

The team – Year 11 student Nathan Sewart and Year 10s Juan Carlos “JC” Kilapio and Daniel Song – argued the affirmative that wealthy countries should subsidise developing countries’ Covid immunisations.

Teacher Bob Becker said the boys had performed brilliantly to secure the first win of the season.

“They’re really punching above their weight,” Mr Becker said.

The Senior A Debating team, from left, Daniel Song, Nathan Sewart and JC Kilapio.

Team member Nathan said his long involvement in debating had helped him develop his critical-thinking and public-speaking skills.

“I originally got into debating thanks to the recommendation of my Year 4 teacher, Ms Holland,” Nathan said.

“I really enjoy how on the spot higher-level debating is. It forces you to think quickly and insightfully. For anyone who is struggling with speaking to crowds of people, particularly on the spot, debating is a great way to learn.”

Mr Becker agreed that the skills gained in debating would stand students in good stead into the future.

“Debating’s great because it has got all those soft skills that employers are looking for – working in teams, problem solving,” Mr Becker said.

“And there’s that confidence. Every employer, modern employer, is looking for someone who can stand up in front of a team, present a case, or present an argument.

“Educators are recognising what the social philosophers have been telling us all along; that artificial intelligence are going to be our lawyers, our engineers, our doctors, but the only thing they’re not going to be able to do is those skills that need a soul.

“I think those soft skills from debating are the ones that all educators are now talking up.”

Blackfriars has three teams in the South Australian Debating Association Schools’ Competition.

The junior team – led by Primary Teacher Claire Holland – was narrowly defeated in round 1.

Ms Holland said the boys – Tighe McGinty, Chenjun Han and Taylor Sammons – performed magnificently on the night, with Chenjun stepping up at the last minute after another team member fell ill.

“The junior Debating team has quite a few members this year. All the debating students helped prepare for the debate … That teachers should be required to wear a school uniform,” Ms Holland said.

“We argued against this statement and argue well, we did!”  


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