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Cayman Parent | Articles | Community | Debate Club – Preparation for Life

Debate Club – Preparation for Life

Debate club cayman debating boy

Debating is a great way for your child to gain confidence, become knowledgeable on current affairs, improve public speaking, develop the ability to see a range of perspectives on a certain issue and enhance listening skills. More and more schools today are encouraging students to take up debate, as it not only provides them with skills that are beneficial for future career options, but additionally is seen by universities as extremely beneficial. Debate students have analytical skills that many other students don’t have. Although many schools have their own debate programmes, others participate in the Model United Nations and the Conyers Inter-Schools Debate Tournament, and there is also the Youth Parliament. The aims of these programmes are to encourage debates and discussions between students on current issues that may be affecting students’ lives.

Model United Nations Image Students Holding SignsMiss Emily Roberts (teacher at Cayman Prep High School) explains her top 5 reasons to get involved in MUN:

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Academic benefits: MUN is an academically demanding activity. Students are required to research their set country and topic to a very high level and then write a position paper setting out their country’s solution to a world problem. These position papers have to be referenced to university standards and solutions need to be clearly explained. Students develop the skills to work independently and to an extremely high level. Students learn skills at MUN which are of benefit in all of their academic school subjects.

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Builds confidence: Students develop a huge amount of confidence when they participate in MUN. I have seen very shy young children able to command a room of strangers during their committee sessions because they are passionate about what they are doing and they are enjoying the simulation. All students have to give an opening speech outlining the solution to their issue and this may be delivered in committees of around 100 people. Every single student I have encountered in MUN has been able to rise to this challenge.

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Promotes negotiation and problem solving: Education is dominated by competition and while this teaches our students valuable lessons, we can sometimes forget the importance of negotiation. MUN focuses students on reaching a solution to a world issue through negotiation and students have to be creative in order to work with countries that have completely opposing views and cultures to their own. MUN demands that students use formal, non-aggressive language (the same terms used in the UN) in order to help negotiation.

Black and White Sketch Bubbles of Conversation Builds empathy and awareness to current world issues: Students will be assigned a country and a topic. They may have to take a stance that completely opposes their own views. Although this may be challenging at times, it does promote understanding and tolerance of other views and students gain an in-depth understanding of the causes of conflict in the world.

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It’s fun! There is a lot of hard work but it also a lot of fun. It gives children a voice on important issues in the world and the solutions that they reach are often more diplomatic and positive than those of adults! Students have a great time in committee sessions and leave with a real sense of accomplishment.

student debate club cayman female

  Curious as to how to get involved?

Cayman Prep, Cayman International School and Montessori by the Sea offer the Model MUN experience. However, since public speaking and debate skills are so important, almost all public and private middle and high schools incorporate it into their regular English curriculum and are participants in the Conyers Inter-School Debate Tournament every year.

Conyers Inter-Schools Debate Tournament

Conyers Inter-Schools Debate is the largest single-day debating event in the Cayman school calendar. For several years Conyers have been running their inter-schools debate tournament to build the skills needed to create future politicians and lawyers. During the debate tournament, public and private schools go head to head in debate, arguing both sides of a relevant topic, and are judged by members of the community.

Youth Parliament

For over ten years the annual Youth Parliament has allowed students from nine local schools to take over the Cayman Islands’ Legislative Assembly. Students choose their roles, such as whether they are going to serve on the government or opposition bench, and what topics they should debate.

Youth Assembly

Now in its 10th sitting, the Cayman Islands Youth Assembly (CIYA) is composed of two cohorts who advocate for youth issues which have included: public transportation reform, child neglect, marriage equality, education, employment and more. Cohort A, the youngest cohort, is comprised of students aged 13-17 who have been nominated by their respective high schools to join the Assembly which meets every Thursday during the school year. Frequent debates are held among its members to determine their position on these social issues and what solutions they can propose. For further inquiries regarding the CIYA please contact Victor Crumbley on (345) 943 1127 or email: victor.crumbley@gov.ky.

Model MUN

Model MUN is an academic simulation of the United Nations where students role-play delegates from different countries and attempt to solve real world issues working with the policies and perspectives of their assigned country. Students are required to argue their country’s position on a chosen subject such as climate change or nuclear non-proliferation, to name just two, and in the process they learn a great deal. It helps broaden perspectives, exposes students to the wider world and the issues affecting others. Universities love students that have participated in MUN; it might well help them get their first job and even inspire them to change the world!


If you’d like to learn more about what activities are available in Cayman, read our page The Real Deal: Cost Guide to Children’s Activities.

 
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