Workshops Focus On The Power Of Debating


Young members of the Qatar Foundation (QF) community are developing their capacity to become critical and analytical thinkers, through a series of workshops intended to help them shape their futures.

QatarDebate, a member of QF that encourages students to reach the heights of their human potential through debate learning programs, is taking a group of children of QF staff from the basics of debating to the point where they are accomplished, confident, and effective in the discipline, through a seven-week program.

The third iteration of the established series began on 14 April 2015, at the Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center, with 25 students receiving an introduction to debate and critical thinking.

During the workshops, they will cover topics including argumentation, public speaking, the format of debates, and building a case for and against a proposition. The skills they will learn are designed to enhance their academic and career prospects and personalities, allowing them to make greater contributions to their community and to Qatar’s future.

“I have taken part in debating competitions, and I felt this was a great opportunity to build my skills,” said workshop participant Amna Salatt, a Grade 10 student at Al Jazeera Academy.

“Through this workshop, I feel I will be able to better learn how to build an argument and further develop my public speaking abilities and I have already learned about logical fallacies and errors in reasoning. This workshop is important for me, because it will allow me to better express myself at university, and to a future employer.”

Sara Al Shaibi, a Grade 10 student at Al Jazeera Academy, is also a member of the workshop series, and said: “I want to build my confidence about speaking in public and be able to better formulate an argument better – we all have opinions, but sometimes it is not easy to express them – and from what I have already gained from the workshop, I feel it will certainly develop my skills as a critical thinker.”

The workshops are being led by Alex de Jager, English Debate Coach, QatarDebate, who explained to the students that they must make their own arguments heard while also appreciating those of others, and emphasized the value of debating skills. “Virtually all of the world’s top companies now see critical thinking as one of the most important qualities they are looking for in an employee,” he said.

“It is possible for someone to say things that are completely true, but reach the wrong conclusion because the logic is absent; and for a person to reach the right conclusion despite faulty premises. As debaters, you want to make statements that are true, but also to put them together in a logical way.”

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