6 Mar 2016

Book Week 2016: The Big Debate

Debating has been a long held tradition in Sha Tin College. Colloquial or formal, students have been coming together and sharing their knowledge through debating for years. This week, however, was different. Following the Book Week theme of “Identity”, a group of IB Philosophy students voluntarily organised a teacher-led debate, held on March 1, in the Library and Learning Centre.

Filled with a light-hearted and informal atmosphere, approximately 50 students came to watch the debate, based on the motion of “This House believes that cultural identity should be sidelined for national solidarity”. With Ms. McAskie, Mr. Ma, and Mrs. Ogilvie on side Proposition; Mrs. May, Mr. Flynn, and Mr. Campbell on side Opposition. The structure of the debate predominantly followed the World Schools Style Debate format, with 5 minutes for each speaker’s speech. However, at the end of the debate, students were invited to engage in an open debate -a chance in which inquiries and opinions could be directly expressed.


Students make their contributions to the heated debate. Photo: Anson Tong 

After 20 minutes of vigorous exchanges from teachers who opened the debate, the floor was given to both students and teachers. While side Proposition argued that there should be a dominant culture for all people, side Opposition responded that different ethnicities should be equally recognised. “I wonder,” Mrs. May argued, “if Hispanic cultures are celebrated fully and equally as a prevailing majority.”

The debate proved a success, as students expressed a great interest in the debate motion at hand. A multitude of challenging questions were flung at the teachers by students.

Finally, the debate could not have been a success without the hard work of its organisers. Henry Chiu and Charlotte Wun of 12D1, Shannon Yeung and Janice Chan of 12D2, and Angela Fu of 12X2 all helped out in arranging and programming the debate.

“The debate demonstrates the intellectual dimension of Sha Tin College, evident in the enthusiastic number of participants. The fundamental reason for the event’s success stands in the collaboration between teachers and students,” Henry Chiu said.

Jennifer Yu, 11G2