CRITICAL thinking skills are hugely important, especially in these rapidly changing times.
With this in mind, West Cork children are being encouraged to be open-minded, flexible in their thought processes, and reasonable while also having the confidence to defend those thoughts and ideas.
The introduction of primary school debating in West Cork has meant that local children have been practising those critical thinking skills over the past months.
The debating programme supports the development of all these skills, and more.
In 2011, two teachers in Dublin set up a primary school debating league which has since spread country-wide through the network of education centres.
The West Cork Education Centre introduced the debating league to primary schools in December 2012 and since then the project has become extremely popular – the 2019 competition saw the biggest entry to date.
Although the standard was impressively high, there could only be one winner, and this year, Carrigboy NS in Durrus were crowned West Cork champions at a very exciting final held in West Cork Education Centre.
This was a huge achievement for Carrigboy as it was their first time entering the competition.
Teachers Matilda Crowley and Karen Buckley, along with principal Michael Cronin, and of course the pupils, did West Cork proud with a most entertaining and interesting debate.
The topic chosen for the final debate was ‘Food waste should be made illegal’. Congratulations were also extended to the staff and pupils of Derryclough NS in Drinagh who were the runners-up.
All those involved agreed that this was a true learning experience for the pupils involved and it has certainly enhanced their oral language development which clearly supports the Strategy for Literacy and Numeracy set out by the Department of Education in 2011.
West Cork Education Centre thanked all participating schools, pointing out that a significant amount of time was required to practise, prepare for competition and to identify adjudicators, while all the time liaising with the West Cork Education Centre and co-ordinator Chrissie.
‘Huge gratitude is also due to the West Cork adjudicators who give so kindly of their time and expertise. Thank you to Sinéad from Concern and to Cllr Declan Hurley who presented the prizes,’ said West Cork Education Centre director Dr Dympna Daly.