To help keep students engaged and support teachers with something exciting for their pupils to do, we took Debating Matters Online during the coronavirus lockdown.
The response we received from teachers, judges and Debating Matters alumni was hugely encouraging. We knew that Debating Matters has a wide network of supporters and all of your messages and offers of support were hugely appreciated (especially those – schools or judges – that we haven’t yet been able to involve!).
In the past weeks, we’ve engaged dozens of students, judges and teachers across six showcase online debates – read about them in detail here. We’ve seen cracking debates take place on everything from whether ‘Social media sites should filter out fake news‘ to whether ‘Britain should pay reparations for its colonial past‘. Many of the debates have taken on a new colour from the coronavirus crisis – the topic on compulsory vaccinations is just one example – but it has also been important to remind ourselves that as important as coronavirus is, there are a host of other moral, political and scientific questions that we all need to interrogate.
As well as getting to grips with important contemporary issues, and keeping intellects engaged whilst we follow social distancing, Debating Matters Online has given many pupils, teacher and professionals a reminder of the importance of meeting minds and forging social connections. In fact, we’ve been able to break down distance barriers like never before: whether its schools from London and Derry debating each other, alumni from Berlin joining in the conversation, or judges zooming in from Washington DC.
We’ll soon be sharing some video-snippets of how it all went down, but for now, we want to thank everyone who took part, and congratulate the winners: Cardiff Sixth Form College, Havering College, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Exeter College, Thornhill College Derry, and St Edward’s School Oxford. Likewise, the high standard of the debates meant that the judges had a series of very tough choices, and so we also want to send our commiserations to those teams who were just pipped to the post: Cirencester College, Magdalen College School, Queens School Bushey, East London Science School, and Durham High School for Girls.
Like many, we are anticipating that schools will be returning soon, and so schools will be able to take debate into the classrooms again. But until then, if there are any schools still eager to participate in DM Online, please do get in touch with Jacob Reynolds
Finally, a short plea from us. At the boi charity, we haven’t gone into furlough. In fact, we’ve been as busy as ever organising debates and preparing for online events. So if you would like to show your appreciation and help out a good cause, please consider donating to the boi charity.