Debating at the Institute continues to grow in popularity as students, keen to hone their skills at argument and public speaking, avail of the Friday class. While it is only the first month of school we have already entered the Leinster Schools and Cambridge Schools competitions.
The Cambridge Schools debating competition is an illustrious international event. This year the competition took place on the campus of UCD. The Irish round of the competition is run by Alasdair Donovan, a debating champion and former student of the Institute, now studying History in Peterhouse Cambridge. Alasdair called into the school before the event last Thursday, to hold a workshop for students interested in attending.
Left to right: Past student Alasdair Donovan and debating teacher David Connolly, at the Institute of Education
He shared his insight into debating and competitions with the attendant students. For Alasdair debating provides value to the students as it “forces one to engage with new topics, develop innovative lines of argument and to learn how to persuade people, all in the face of immense time pressure. All of these are skills which are transferable not just to the Leaving Certificate but to all aspects of later life.”
When asked about how his time at the Institute helped prepare him for his third level studies he said “The teaching style at the Institute requires students to develop the ability to work independently and take ownership of their studies. This has been the single most valuable skill that my time at the Institute offered me. The ways in which classes are structured and the fact that students are treated as adults meant that my time at the Institute has mirrored the environment I currently find myself in at university.”