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Debate-Ed First Session

This week students at Meole Brace School and Grange School enjoyed their first Debate-Ed sessions, with Priory School starting next week.

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The aim of this first session was to allow the mentors and students to get to know each other and to introduce the students to the basics of debating. The activities were designed to be light-hearted, fun and to get the students used to generating and expressing an opinion.

The Sales Game

One of the introductory activities was the Sales Game. This involves the students working in pairs or small groups. They are given five minutes to think of a toy and then prepare a short speech on why they think their toy is the best toy. They are encouraged to develop their reasoning and to deeply consider the advantages of their specific. They need to consider what makes their toy cool and fun; why children might enjoy playing with it; why parents would want to buy it for their children and whether it helps the children to develop beneficial skills or behaviours.

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The children were full of creative ideas. Many of them wanted to incorporate technology into their toys in order to help the children develop skills. For instance, one group suggested a robotic teddy bear that could help the child learn the alphabet. Others suggested more simple toys such as a small bath for young children that would make bathtime fun. There were also old classics such as Monopoly as one of the students explained that this was a really good toy as it promoted strategy, aids understanding of how money and business works and encourages interaction between the different family members. There was a real focus on the skills that a toy or game could help the child to develop – whether this was through a doll which teaches them caring or through Lego which teaches them construction.

Why The Activity Works

This is a great activity to do as it gives the students a chance to engage with thinking creatively and expressing their ideas while in a low-pressure situation. It gives them the opportunity to be creative and think outside the box.

Building on this activity can help the students develop important sales skills. In the commercial world being able to understand why your targeted customer might want the products you are making is really important. In addition, you then need to understand how to persuade your audience that your product meets their needs and in particular of the advantages of your product over alternatives.