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Defining a primary school debating topic – 9. With Elinor Stephenson

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ELINOR STEPHENSON: Hi, I'm Ellie. And I'm going to be defining the topic that all afternoon sessions in primary school should be dedicated to creativity and the arts. So usually, when I'm trying to prepare a definition, I'll try and think through, what is the problem in the world that I'm trying to solve in this debate? Because usually, the affirmative will be required to solve some problem in debating. So I think in this debate, where we're introducing creativity and the arts lessons in the afternoon in primary school, we might identify the main problem in the debate as two things.

The first one could be, children are really tired at the moment. They disengage in the afternoon, because they've spent all morning in the middle session in school doing things like maths and English that are hard and require a lot of focus. And in the afternoon, they really don't learn anything. And so instead, we should be encouraging them to do things which are much more creative, which allow them to engage rather than just boring them and making them hate school. So I think that's the first sort of problem we could identify.

And then the second problem we could maybe talk about as well is that at the moment, there's not enough creativity being taught in school and children are maybe graduating school without enough skills in terms of creative thinking. And that is a really important skill going into the future that a lot of jobs are going to be looking for. So overall, our problem is basically children are kind of bored at the moment. They disengage from school, particularly in the afternoon when they're tired. And they're not learning enough creativity. So we want to fix that with our model. And that really helps us make sure our model is focusing on fixing those problems and we're not kind of-- we're not ruining our case through our definition.

So let's think about how we would define this. I guess the first question we want to be answering is where we would be implementing this policy. So because we've decided this is a really important problem that's probably occurring all around Australia, we just want to scope it to Australia. We just want to suggest it happens in Australia. I don't think kids getting tired in the afternoon is limited to New South Wales or anything like that. So where? All of Australia.

Then what years or are there any particular schools would we limit it to? Probably not. I think the reason for that is just we've agreed this is a really important problem that we need to fix. So it wouldn't make much sense to limit it just to different types of schools or only year three years or something like that. We want to make sure it affects as many children as possible. So that's why we're going to go all primary school years and all primary schools around the country.

And then the next thing that we want to do in our definition is just kind of make it clear what this policy actually looks like. How does it look like when we implement it? So there's two main things we might want to define in this section. The first thing is creativity and the arts and what these classes are actually about. I think this is pretty intuitive. It probably looks like things like drama, art, creative writing, music, dance. It seems pretty obvious what creativity and the arts is. So that's really easy. That's pretty quick to define. And then the next thing we want to do is talk about when in the school day this policy would kind of fit in. So I think there's two different possibilities with regards to how we could interpret afternoon sessions. Either it's the time in the school day between lunch and the end of school.

So during the school day, but in the afternoon. Or it's after school, having an afternoon session, for instance, from 3 o'clock to 4:30 or something like that. And I would say we should probably go with the first one between lunch and the afternoon-- or between lunch and going home. And that's just because when we were talking about the problem that's motivating this change, we said children were being tired and disengaging. And if that's the case, we probably don't want to be holding children back from school even later. We probably want to let them do the fun thing in the afternoon session between lunch and going home. So that hopefully is pretty simple.

Then the final thing that we want to define is when we're going to implement this policy, which is probably as soon as feasibly possible. So I would say the start of the next term. That gives teachers and the school some time to sort of plan these classes, decide which teacher's going to be on them. But it is not too long. We obviously agree this is really important, so we should try and implement it basically as soon as possible. So now, I'm going to present a speech or the start of a speech and show you what it looks like to do this definition. So I'd like to welcome myself to begin the debate for the affirmative team.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a massive problem in the world at the moment. And that is that currently children are becoming incredibly bored and tired at the end of the school day and they're not learning to be creative enough. And this is a really, really bad problem, because it means that children have really bad attitudes towards school, they get bored, and they don't actually learn anything in the afternoon session in class. And they're not graduating school with the creative skills they need to get a job. And that's why we're debating that all afternoon sessions in primary school should be dedicated to creativity and the arts.

Basically, the way we think this would work is it would occur in all of Australia. And it would occur in every primary school for all of the years in the primary school. And what we would be doing is in the session between lunch and the end of school, we'd be having classes on drama, on art, on writing, and music, and all those kind of creative pursuits that allow children to relax, to engage in things which are fun and interesting, and to develop their creative skills. And we're going to be implementing this as soon as possible at the start of the next term.

All right, so that's basically what your definition and model should look like. I hope that that has shown you how to tackle this kind of topic. Thanks for watching, and bye.


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