10 February, 2021

Student Perspective: ESU Schools' Mace Debating Competition

As debating is one of my passions, the experience of participating in the English-Speaking Union School’s Mace debating competition not only helped me improve my public speaking skills but also allowed me to work on my teamwork and problem-solving skills, which are all useful in my desired career path, medicine. In the competition I was part of a team composed of myself and two other students from Oxford International College. We were given the motion in advance, so we had time to prepare. The motion, “This House Would ban job applicants from disclosing the names of educational institutions that they have attended” was a fascinating question which really made me think. I decided to take this opportunity to work on my teamwork and communication skills, as we worked hard to construct three speeches with valid and robust arguments and relevant examples, while also trying to connect them together to ensure the speeches were perspicuous and coherent. During the competition I presented my speech by carefully implementing all the strategies and points I had learned while also keeping track of consistency and adding a little bit of charm on top. Throughout the debate I listened to other speakers, which was a great opportunity to reflect on myself and see where I can improve. It was not until the individual feedback from the judge that I realized how much I have learned about debating in Oxford International College – and also how much more there is to learn. The feedback helped me tremendously as I now know which skills to work on to improve my debating. Overall, this has been an enriching experience which has given me some insight on how real debates work, and it has helped  me improve, both in terms of my debating and it also taught me valuable skills which I plan on using in my everyday life. I am glad that I have participated in this competition as I have gained knowledge that will last me a lifetime. I would like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to Mr. Monguio, as well as the students who led the weekly debating sessions: Pearl, Rachel, Isaac, and Odera Bryan. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to teach and prepare me.   Karlo Jelić