School success at Mace “Talk It Up” Junior Debating Competition 2016
Well done to the Roscommon Community College Junior Debating Team which recently represented our school at the “Talk it Up” Junior Debating Mace, which took place in Colaiste Iognaid, Galway City on Saturday October 1st. This innovative and exhilarating competition is the Western qualifier for the Matheson National Junior Mace Competition, with the winning speakers progressing to represent their school at the National Finals in Dublin. A total of four teams represented our school and participated in a marathon seven hours of debating in what was both an exciting and challenging environment. Motions for debate included a host of topics which touched on human rights issues, modern celebrity culture, topical current affairs and various other issues of interest. Our students immensely enjoyed this pioneering approach to debating which involved an extremely short lead in time of fifteen minutes before the speaker delivered their speech. Working on this novel approach to largely “unprepared” motions, our students relished the opportunity to further hone their debating skills on a wider provincial stage. Sean Egan, Michael Lough, Macie Collins, Tara Hegarty, Keelan Gallagher, Dean Cribbon, Erin Cleary and Dylan Donnelly exemplified astuteness and insight as they formulated their speeches. Thanks must go to the parents who attended on the day and particular gratitude is expressed to those who provided transport. Thanks also to Ms. Cullen for accompanying the students on the day. Congratulations to each and every student who participated and the very best of luck to Third Year student Michael Lough who has progressed out of Connacht and will now represent his province at the National Finals in Dublin. Hats off to Michael on a job well done!
Concern Debating Workshop 2016
Four of our debating students from RCC travelled to Athlone on the 5th of October for a Concern Debating Workshop. This workshop introduced students to the general rules and running order of debates.
The workshop began with a brief history of Concern, giving the students an insight into the work they do with the world’s poorest people to help and transform their lives. Once the introduction was complete, the students played a number of stimulating games that kept them engaged and intrigued. They were then given valuable information on the difference between reliable and unreliable sources for debates when researching a motion.
After lunch, the students participated in various walking debates that consisted of interesting and relevant topics, for example, should Pokémon Go be banned? The students thoroughly enjoyed their day out and grew in confidence as the day progressed. They were encouraged to give their opinion and explain their rationale in a very comfortable, open and accepting environment. The students were kept involved throughout the day and this experience will be of great benefit to them during this year’s future debating competitions.
Literary and Debating Workshop 2016
Tuesday the 11th of October saw twelve enthusiastic Roscommon Community College students travel to Athlone Community College to take part in the Literary and Debating Workshop ran by NUI Galway’s Eoghan Finn. The students were given a great insight into the layout and formats of the different types of debates, more notably the Concern debate and Irish Times debate. This will serve as a great advantage as RCC are hosting the County Debating Finals in the school on the 19th of November, with the debate following the Irish Times debating format. The students were shown some of the valuable tips and tricks of a successful speaker and were also were told what they should be including whether they are first, second, third or fourth speaker.
After the basics were covered, the students then split into teams to either propose or oppose the motion that ‘Donal Trump would be a good president’. The students were keen to get their opinions and thoughts across on this very topical issue. In a debating style format, using ‘points of information’ to make valid rebuttals, all students got involved, voicing their views and making appropriate arguments either for or against the motion. The workshop enlightened our students and showed them that debating can be enjoyable, interesting and extremely beneficial both in and after school. We would like to thank Eoghan for the very fun and engaging workshop and look forward to getting back to the drawing board to kick start our first debate ‘selfies are the ultimate form of vanity.’
Roscommon Herald County Schools' Debating Final
Congratulations to RCC's debating team who participated in the Roscommon Herald County Schools' Debating Final on the 19th of November. On the day, RCC had the pleasure of welcoming MEP, Luke Ming Flanagan who chaired the debate, as well as the adjudicators Chris and Thomas from NUIG Literary and Debating Society and Kevin Egan from the Roscommon Herald.
Battle of Wits as “War of Words” Inaugural Debating Competition Kicks Off at Roscommon Community College
With its origins dating from the beginning of civilization, the art of debate has been inextricably intertwined with the concept of open society. In ancient Athens, citizens gathered in forums to discuss and debate the most pressing philosophical and political issues of the day before casting their votes. Indeed, it may be said that true democracy cannot exist without debate. For democracy to function as it should, the values that debate encourages, namely reason, tolerance and the careful weighing of evidence, must be valued and cultivated. Perhaps this is what French philosopher Joseph Joubert meant when he said: “It is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.” This sense of a shared journey toward the truth brings debaters closer together, even when they represent opposing sides of an issue. In so doing, debate fosters the essential democratic values of free and open discussion.
At Roscommon Community College, we believe that the process of debate offers profound and lasting benefits for our students and for the community. With its emphasis on critical thinking, effective communication, independent research and teamwork, debate teaches skills that serve individuals well not only in school, but also in the workplace and as citizens of democratic societies. Once students have learned how to debate, they are better able to critically examine the pronouncements of their political representatives and to make informed judgments about crucial issues.
With this in mind, we are excited to launch the Roscommon Community College Public Speaking & Debating Society. A weekly lunchtime debate is held where a wide range of local and global topics are discussed, with the principal aim being to foster a greater understanding of contemporary issues, whilst encouraging a free and lively exchange of ideas. All interested students are invited to participate, or just to observe if they wish, and students enjoy coming together to debate the topical concerns of the day. Sometimes the debate is just for fun, however students are also engaging on a more competitive basis as they prepare to go to competition, with students currently competing at local, regional and national levels. Debate motions are frequently proposed by the students themselves, thereby making sure that the participants are at the center of the decision-making process, keeping motions relevant and of interest to the very students who will be debating on the issues at hand.
In a recent exciting departure for our school, Roscommon Community College was delighted to host the inaugural round of our very own “War of Words” debating competition which saw our home debating team take on our fellow GRETB school Elphin Community College. Roscommon Community College was ably represented by Michael Lough (Captain, 3rd Yr.), Macie Collins, Dean Cribbon and Luke Keane (All 3rd Yr.), while Gilbert Muldowney (Captain), Laura Muldowney, Hannah Macken and Conor Dorr gave an illustrious performance on behalf of the Transition Year students from Elphin. Proposing the motion “That Selfies are the Ultimate Form of Vanity”, the Roscommon Community College team gave a spirited performance on the day, highlighting throughout the course of their arguments the importance of effective communication skills, as well as critical and logical thinking. On the day, however, Elphin gave an exceptionally strong performance and the visiting team was victorious. RCC greatly anticipates however another chance to face Elphin, when we make the return trip to our sister school in November for the next leg of the “War of Words” challenge.
Sincere gratitude is extended to our adjudicators on the day Mr. John Flynn and Mr. Paul Casserly, without whom the event would not have been possible. Both adjudicators gave the utmost consideration to their duties, giving wonderful support and very constructive feedback to all participants. Thanks also to RCC student Sean Egan who contributed greatly to the proceedings in his dual role as both Chairperson and Timekeeper, keeping the large audience of RCC and Elphin supporters captivated at all times. Everybody concerned thoroughly enjoyed the good-humored repartee and banter, with all students in agreement that debating is certainly an exciting activity, guaranteeing not only great fun, but also a sustained rush of adrenaline!
“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress."
Both students and teachers at Roscommon Community College are already looking forward to the next highlight in our debating calendar which will see our school host the “Roscommon Herald County Schools’ Debate” in the coming weeks. This maiden event is kindly sponsored by the Roscommon Herald and will take place in RCC on Saturday, November 19th. We are pleased to announce that the debate will be chaired by our guest of honor Luke “Ming” Flanagan MEP, and the winning speakers will progress to the Semi Final stage of the Western Schools’ Debating Championship. Debating Coach Ms. Cullen anticipates a great afternoon of entertainment at RCC as we continue to encourage debate within our school community. Enabling our students to be more engaged citizens as they go on to actively participate in an increasingly dynamic society can only serve them well, as they take their place in meaningful discourse of a political and global nature. Throughout the school year, students also engage with the Concern Debates, the Matheson Junior Debating National Mace and the Knights of Columbanus All-Ireland Public Speaking Competition. The art of public speaking is surely a life skill for all, as students learn to cooperate with others while simultaneously understanding opposing views. A super success story for all concerned and in the ever-changing world we live in, the art of debate is a tool that could not be more advantageous and timely!