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Great Debaters Club: Practice Workshop
Sat 20 February 2016, 10:30 – 16:30 GMT
FREE for members of the Great Debaters Club
The Great Debaters Club is a training programme run by Debating London, which hosts fortnightly public debates on current affairs. Practice workshops give members who would like to speak, but feel they aren't quite ready yet, a chance to have a go in what is effectively a dress rehearsal for the next month's public debates.
What are the topics of March's public debates?
In March, we will be hosting two public debates - on the 2nd and the 16th - both Wednesdays. These will take place at the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall and will be free to attend. Further details will be published once the motions for both debates are decided.
Existing members of the club will know that a public debate begins with a motion, not a topic. A motion is a proposal to enact a policy or adopt a belief that the teams on the panel must defend or oppose, respectively. Practice workshops begin with an open discussion on the topic, which in turn helps us to work out how best to word the motion that will result in the most constructive debate possible.
New for this month, we will cover several different topics in the open discussion and then whittle them down to the two motions we will debate at the club in March.
The topics for this month's practice workshop are as follows:
Who can take part in this workshop and the public debates?
Anyone can attend the workshop as you don't have to be preparing for an actual debate to want to brush up on your debating skills. However, only members of the Great Debaters Club can speak in the public debates themselves, which is how they measure their progress against the Great Debater Scale.
How it works:
Practice debates simulate the rigours of public discourse in a supportive and private environment with a maximum of 25 people permitted to attend a single workshop. Participants are then provided with a platform to speak in a public debate on the same topics covered in the workshop where they can put their skills to the test.
The day will begin with an open debate on each topic in which everyone will be given the chance to share their own opinion with the rest of the room, so they can experience public speaking on their own terms. Tony Koutsoumbos, the club's founder and resident debate trainer will then deliver a summary of the prevailing themes of each debate and identify the gaps in different speakers' arguments for them to work on in the afternoon.
After lunch, participants will be broken up into smaller groups and will take turns to make a case for or against whichever one of the topics interests them most. Simulating the conditions of a live public debate, speakers will then be cross-examined by the rest of the group and answer their questions. This exercise will be guided by Tony who will advise participants on how to make a case and ask challenging questions.
We will end the day with a short group discussion on the afternoon exercise, after which volunteers to speak in next month's public debates themselves will be selected.