Saturday, August 18, 2012

Inception of the AVM Debating Club

Live in a way leaving a mark of your existence

Exist in a way establishing your recognition

Be recognised in a way

Rising above the crowd while still standing
among them.........

It seems as if this verse is especially composed for the students of AVM to inspire them to live a meaningful and purposeful life and nurture leadership quality to become legendary. In addition to this, communication skills are most essential to stand in today’s fast pacing and competitive world. It is mandatory for the students to express their ideas precisely and effectively. Students must have the skill to speak impressively what they think and feel. In order to facilitate the students to acquire such good communicating skills, the founder of the school His Divine Holiness Hariprasad Swamiji wishes AVM students to be great debaters. Hence, the teachers of the English Department of Atmiya Vidya Mandir have started a Debating Club for the students of VI to XII Std.

The registered student members of this AVM Debating Club are divided in many groups to participate in the club activities which allow the students to socialize and build friendships with teammates while collaborating and sharing ideas. Club members are trained by the English teachers to build their individual abilities to reason and employ analytical thinking as they strive to understand all the possible arguments about the topic. The activities of this Debating club are scheduled in such a way that students are trained and taught about all aspects of debating skills. Under this Debating Club, teachers guide students to learn the art of public speaking and critical thinking. While discussing and debating current events, they brainstorm ideas and utilize their research skills to dig up relevant information about the week’s topic. Facilitators/teachers help students develop position statements, supporting arguments, and rebuttals.

Teachers train students to think analytically, abide by debate rules, and become comfortable with friendly discussion in a virtual environment. The first training session with the introduction module was held in the second week of July in which Seema Madam introduced the club to debating. It was an interactive session with activities and a spectacular audio-visual presentation. In the second session Prabhudarshan Sir taught the students Assertion-Reasoning-Evidence, commonly known as A-R-E for debates. Students were benefitted with many rules and procedure of debating and communicating ideas through this module. The third session was conducted by Nikhil Sir in which he taught students how to write and deliver a speech with respect to debates. It ended with a very apt example from the movie Julius Caesar - Speech by Marc Anthony to the Romans on death of Caesar. It was followed by training and practice of research skills by Prajval Sir. In the next training session, Chirag Sir explained the students how to refute and respond the verbal attack in a Debate. In this manner, through different modules and training sessions, students will be trained and taught the skills and art of debating by English Teachers.

Fukuda (2003), in a debate study conducted with Japanese students, found that "before the debates only 30.8% of the students were not afraid of expressing their opinions when they were not the same as others'. After the debate this figure rose to 56.7%." AVM teachers believe that the knowledge or skills which came from the practice in the debates lead the students to become more accustomed to expressing opinions. This suggests that, although debating can be challenging, through debating skills, students can help themselves to further develop their communicative skill. Students of AVM have a lot of contributing practical reasons for being the part of Debating Club and getting involved with debate. Learning how to prepare a speech will probably improve their marks in English essays. Learning about political issues and current affairs will help them in Social Studies.

For all these advancement and achievement, the ultimate inspiration is this Quote: “My Favourite activity in school was debating. I picked the side of the motion last which meant which was unpopular. I did this because it required a lot of thinking”. P.P. Swamishree

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