How Lesedi and I started a debate club

We helped each other

How Lesedi and I started a debate club

My friend, Lesedi, and I love reading books and watching debates on TV. We would spend hours discussing different topics such - everything from whether university should be free or if beauty contests should be banned.

One of our teachers Mrs Nkosi heard us talking about the debate show we always watch, The Big Debate, and she suggested that we start our own debate club.

We created posters to put up around school and soon the word spread and we had 15 people!

Initially I was nervous about sharing my opinion with a group but as the weeks passed and I learnt how to make a stronger argument, I grew in confidence and was able to help others overcome their shyness.

We explored so many topics and were able to think about things from different angles as well as learn how to speak in public. Not only do I feel able to express myself and my opinions now, I have a lot of fun every week.

Want to create your own debate club? Here are our top tips:

1. Pick some leaders
Someone needs to get everyone organised; they can delegate tasks, pick the debate topics and plan a time and place to meet.

2. Do some research and be creative about the topics you want to discuss
We get a lot of inspiration from the internet and what’s in the news. Sometimes we ask our community about the issues we are facing and include those. It’s quite fun to include lighter topics about celebrities as well as more serious issues like freedom of children’s rights.

3. Pick a regular time and place
Find a safe place where you can have the debates. This can be at a room in the library or at your mom's backyard. Try to keep it regular so everyone knows to keep it free.

4. Set up debate teams and have rules
We always have 2 teams of three people debating against each other. One team is for a certain topic while the other is against it. For example, if the topic is students should not have homework, one team would argue for the idea while the other would be against it. We always have a set time for people to speak – 2 minutes is good - while everyone else listens.

5. Show respect and have fun!
We always make sure to be respectful to each other and the arguments they are making, even if we don’t agree. It’s important to listen and encourage each other so we can learn and feel confident.

What are some of the topics you would talk about if you started a debate club?

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