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Oxford inter-house debate: Keble vs. Oriel

Oxford inter-house debate: Keble vs. Oriel

On the day of US Presidential elections we at EF Academy Oxford staged our own debate. Yesterday saw the first House Debate Competition of 2016 take place with Keble arguing against Oriel for the statement “This house believes that the restriction of freedom of speech compromises creativity”.

First speaker, Iulia, confidently delivered a passionate speech, referencing Article 10 of the UN Human Rights to claim that free speech is a right, not a freedom. She argued that “when creativity is prevented society doesn’t reach its full potential”.

First speaker of the opposition, Uday counter-argued that governments need to regulate and monitor our actions for our own safety, albeit to the detriment of creative acts. This was echoed in second speaker, Andoni’s statement that creative acts cannot be fully controlled as guerilla movements will always exist in tightly regulated areas.

Throughout the debate Allen chaired the discussion, keeping times and directing speakers so the official format was correctly adhered to.

Following the construction (the section of a debate when the first speakers give an opening statement for two minutes, uninterrupted) our speakers went head to head in a ‘Crossfire’ in which the first speakers had to argue against their opposition’s question. Then we had a rebuttal (when the second speakers each make a speech to strengthen the original argument and defend their point against the opposition’s first speech). The rebuttal was  followed by a second cross fire (giving the second speakers an opportunity to interrogate their opponent’s speech and defend their own).

Before the third speaker summarized the debate questions were taken from the audience who would then vote for which house they believed led the strongest argument. The winner is to be revealed in a later assembly!

The students successfully constructed arguments interweaving subject knowledge from other areas of the curriculum (Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, the KKK and North Korea) were cited to strengthen arguments and demonstrated an awareness of creativity and military intervention on a global scale.

Personally I was impressed by the enthusiasm shown by all speakers and hope the students are proud of their ability to partake in an academic argument in a new format and in a second language!