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Primary Debating Reflections

We asked all those who took part in the Kildare Education Centre's Debating Festival to tell us what they thought and how they got on. The response was fantastic and we received written pieces, PowerPoints and video from the pupils who took part. Thank you for all this work and effort and we hope to see your schools in the 2015/16 Debating Festival.

Here are some of the responses we received:

Scoil San Treasa, Kilshanroe: Debating Festival Reflection

Hello my name is Jack and I was on the Scoil San Treasa debating team.
Myself and 5 other of my classmates were chosen through a practice debate in December 2014. I remember it well. We were after writing and practising our debate. I was very nervous but I was extremely happy when I heard the good news that I was on the debating team. After myself and 5 others from my class where chosen we were taken out for some help from Rachel who is very good at debating. Then in January we were told about our first debate, I was speaking second for my team and our topic was ‘ Every Child Of A School Going Age Should Have A Mobile Phone’. We had good points but so did the other team , but in the end it was our third speaker who won it for us.

Hello, my name is Shauna and I was part of the Scoil San Treasa Debating Team. In December 2014 19 students from 6th class went forward to try get on the debating team. We were given a motion of “people should not have to pay for water”. I was proposing the motion. We went home that night and wrote a short debate and had to say it for 3rd, 4th and 5th class. We had two adjudicators, a teacher from our school, Miss Cusack and a past pupil who done debating in secondary school. When I got up to speak I was nervous, when it was over I was relieved. A week or two later when all the scores were added up we all found out who was on the team. There were six of us. Me, Oisín Milmoe, Senan Keyes, Rachel Holton, Killian Lynch and Jack Flood. We were happy to be on the team. One of our adjudicators who did debating in school came in and gave us some tips about debating, it was very helpful. Our first debate was against Clocha Rince N.S in Clocha Rince, the motion of the debate was “All children of school going age should have a mobile phone.” The captain was Killian and the second speaker was Jack and the third speaker was Rachel. The adjudicators were Rachel and a local parish priest from Clocha Rince. We won that debate. We were very happy. The best speaker was given to Rachel of Scoil San Treasa. Our second debate was against Scoil Padraig in Clane. The motion was “nobody should have pets.” The captain was Senan, the second speaker was Oisín and the third speaker was me. Sadly we lost that debate. The best speaker was given to the captain of Scoil Padraig. Our third debate was against Ballysax N.S, the motion for that debate was “people should not have to pay for water.” The captain was Jack, the second speaker was Killian and the third speaker was me. We were nervous because we knew this could be our last debate, we all had some good, strong points and so did Ballysax. The adjudicator was a teacher from Clocha Rince. Sadly we lost and were out of the competition but were happy about how far we got. The best speaker was given to the captain of Ballysax. In my first debate I was very nervous but in my second one I definitely was more confident and I am very glad that I did it because it really gave me more confidence talking in front of lots of people. I really enjoyed the experience and so did all my team members, and I know I will definitely go on to do debating in secondary school.

My name is Senan and I was on the Scoil San Treasa debating team.  We had three debates and I was captain of the second one.  I liked the debating because it gets you used to speaking in front of people.  We only won one of our debates out of the three that we did but it was still a good experience.  I was a bit nervous before I spoke but I was happy that I was on the team.  After the debate one of the adjudicators said that my closing speech was good.  I was a bit sad because we lost but I got over it quickly.  The overall experience of the debating was good and I am really happy that I got the opportunity to do it. 

Hello, my name is Oisín and I am part of the Scoil San Treasa debating team. In December 2014 my fellow classmates and I took part in trials for the debating team. 19 people took part in the trials and only six made the team. Luckily, I was one of the six. I felt very happy with myself when I found out I had made the team because I put a lot of hard work into it. After all the debates I would definitely be a lot more confident speaking in front of a big crowd of people. I’m not going to lie, in my first debate I was very nervous but once I stood up and started speaking I was grand. Before this, I would have never talked in front of that many people but I am a lot more comfortable now .I didn’t speak in the first debate but our class went to support the team. The captain was Killian, the second speaker was Jack and the third speaker was Rachel. The motion of the debate was “All children of a school going should have a mobile phone”. We were opposing the motion. The debate was against Clocha Rince and we won the debate. The adjudicators said we won the debate because of our third speaker. I was the second speaker in the second debate. Senan Keyes was the captain and Shauna Thornton was the third speaker. The motion of that debate was “Nobody should keep pets”. We were opposing the motion. The debate was against Scoil Padraig Clane. Unfortunately we lost that debate by a very close score line. I was very disappointed but I soon got over it and began to prepare for the next debate. The next debate was 2 weeks after the second one. Between the team we had trials for who would speak for the debate. Unfortunaly I was not picked to speak but I was asked to be the time keeper. The time keeper keeps an eye on the length of the speakers’ speech. Jack Flood was the captain and Killian Lynch was the second speaker and Shauna Thornton was the third speaker. The debate was against Ballysax NS. We lost the debate but it wasn’t by much. We lost because Ballysax had more research and made great use of props. We were all greatly disappointed because it was our last debate. I would greatly encourage students from all schools to defiantly try out for the debating team as it is a great way to boost your confidence. It is also a good way to practise debating for secondary school. I will defiantly try out for the debating team in secondary school. Thank You

Hello my name is Killian and I am on the Scoil San Treasa debating team.  The trials started in December the motion was water charges. Luckily I made it on the team.  The team was me, Oisín, Senan, Jack, Rachel and Shauna.  Our first Debate was against Clocha Rince. I was really nervous because I was the captain and I had to speak first. The motion was children should have mobile phones. We were proposing the motion.  We won that debate. We were so happy.  A few weeks later we had our second debate. Senan was the captain. Oisín was our second speaker and Shauna was our third speaker. Unfortunately we lost that one by a few points.  Our third debate was against Ballysax. Jack was the captain, I was the second speaker and Shauna was the third speaker.  We lost that one too so we were eliminated from the competition. We were really sad. We all learned a lot from this experience.  I am now more confident speaking in front of other people.  I would recommend debating for next year as it is really fun and educational.  It is really nerve racking when you are about to start your debate. 


St. Mary’s Senior National School, Blessington: Debating Festival Reflection

Our Debating Experience
Hi I’m Síne and I am giving my opinion on the debating competition for 5th and 6th class in Kildare. It was called the Debating Festival. Our team got knocked out in the second round, debating on behalf of St. Mary’s SNS. I think overall that the competition was great fun and was a chance to make new friends. It also gave me confidence to speak out more.

This year I embarked out an adventure, but probably not the type of adventure that comes to mind. This year I started something different. I started debating. Starting debating was an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend it. Debating taught me how to write a speech and read it persuasively. Before I started debating, the thought of standing up and discussing my opinion in front of others was too much for me to handle. But after practicing and practicing, and all of the support I got, I gained a huge amount of confidence. Going against the other schools in the festival was also really fun. Not only did we see the other team’s side of the debate but we also got to talk to them after and socialise.

My debate experience was fun with a hint of misery and a time to remember. My team and I coordinated well with our agreements and disagreements. Overall we put up strong arguments. But the other teams were better than us (by four points in the second debate). We had fun missing school work and homework, which was awesome. My experience might not have been amazing but it was still AOK!

Jonathan Swift National School - Debating Festival Reflection

I thought practicing the speeches helped me reading in public.
I learned new words.
I liked seeing different schools.
I think this will help me in the future because, I now know more words and am a better speaker
- Andrew ,6th class

From Isabelle and Sophie - a fantastic PowerPoint - here are some of the things that they said:
The Best Things from the Debating

  • The crossfire round
  • Delivering the speeches at the debate
  • Meeting new friends from other schools
  • Visiting other schools and having a look around!
  • Winning!  Getting to the quarter final
  • Researching the motions

What We Learned

  • Speaking in public
  • Researching
  • Practice makes perfect!
  • How to write a speech
  • Expression
  • The topics (info on phones, pets and television)

One of the adjudicators (Shirley) said to us after one of the debates:
“In my schooldays I spent 90% of my time learning to write. Whereas as an adult I spend 90% of my time speaking. I wish I had had the chance to learn more about speaking in public while at school.”

And from 4th Class Pupil Louis - who we hope is in next year's Debating Festival

The semi-finals of the debating festivals took place on Thursday 26th of March. The motion was  ‘newspapers are a thing of the past’. The two teams  debating were Scoil Mhicil naofa, Athy and Scoil Eimhin Naofa, Monsterevin. I really enjoyed watching it in the Kildare County Council chamber in Naas. It was a great experience seeing what the Kildare County Council chamber looked like inside.
The adjudicators said the standard was very high from all the teams. The team that won the second semi-final was from Monasterevin.
The first semi-final debate was between Two-Mile-House NS and Hollywood NS. Hollywood NS won by 7 points. That made us feel good because hollywood beat us by only one point in the quarterfinal.
From debating in our classroom I learned:
• How to make points for and against a motion
• How to research a motion
• How to speak in public. It’s not like normal speaking.
• How to set up a debate
I can’t wait to be on the Jonathan Swift NS team next year. Bring it on!!

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