At EF Academy Oxford, we like to embody our surroundings by exhibiting an exuberance for the academic. The spirit of the city is very much an inquisitive, exploratory one, and we participate in this by holding weekly debates at our Tuesday morning assemblies.
Every Tuesday before class, we hold an assembly for the entire school. This is the only time during the week where the entire school can gather together in the same space, and so we try to not only make important announcements, but to also engage the entire school population in a debate. These debates are short, lasting about five to ten minutes, and can cover any topic. We have had our Model United Nations Club demonstrate what a debate at one of their conferences would look like, and a debate on whether or not it’s feasible for the idea of a “new man” (with reference to Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution) to be adopted by society. The entire school pays attention, and at the end we log onto Kahoot (a popular quiz website) and vote on which side we felt has the most convincing argument. The results are almost always 50/50, showing how refined our debating skills are.
I think that this practice is a wonderful microcosm of the EF Academy Oxford spirit: academic, definitely, but with a bit of fun as well. Being in Oxford it’s impossible not to feel a connection to the scholarly; the university is so entwined in the city that academia is all around. Whether it’s going to talks at the Sheldonian Theater, or having guest speakers from the university, or even going to one of Oxford’s many museums, the town is first and foremost an intellectual city. But because it’s a young city, there is also fun here as well, with vibrant live music, festivals, and celebrations (Guy Fawkes day is always a highlight), and I think EF Academy Oxford subscribes to this way of life. We of course are focused on academics (we are a school, after all), but we have an incredible community that has fun together as well.