Young minds learn how to debate

Students from Donalda and Byemoor schools clashed last week, but only with words and ideas, in the second debate tournament organized by the two schools in the last three years.

Putting her case forward- Morgan from Byemoor School presents her case as to why she believes Canada should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan next year.

Putting her case forward- Morgan from Byemoor School presents her case as to why she believes Canada should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan next year.

Students from Donalda and Byemoor schools clashed last week, but only with words and ideas, in the second debate tournament organized by the two schools in the last three years.

The topic of discussion was the future engagement of Canadian forces in Afghanistan after their current mission expires next year.

Don Seale of the Donalda School said the topic was identified by the Debate and Speech Association of Alberta.

Alongside selecting the topic for the debate, the association also provided materials for the students to get informed about the issue.

Following their study of the material, the students were guided by their teachers as to how to establish their strategies in defending their ideas.

Corey Van Zandbergen, principal of the Byemoor School, said he believed they were lucky to be able to provide their students with such an opportunity to develop their research and speaking skills.

“Like in any other project, teachers do get involved on how to formulate an argument and how to do the research and practise a little in the classroom, but kids do their reading on their own,” he said in reference to the process of preparation for the debate.

“This is about healthy democracy,” said Seale.

“This is about how to be a citizen and how to approach the government to express grievances or to defend an idea.”

Conducted as part of the Language and Arts curriculum, the debate tournament brought together several discussion groups, each consisting of two pairs of students, one defending and the other objecting to Canada’s continued involvement in Afghanistan after 2011.

Van Zandbergen said at the end of the debate tournament, the team of Morgan and Patrick from the Byemoor school, who were against continued involvement, were awarded as the winners and Brittany and Lauren, also of Byemoor, were second in the senior category.

In the junior category, Brent and Jacob of Donalda School were awarded as winners and Ashley and Erika from Byemoor school were second.