Student debate in English attracts all sectors

Students from the Druse, Beduin, Arab and Jewish sectors take part in English debate funded by the US Embassy.

Students from Amal school participate in debate 370 (photo credit: Amal group)
Students from Amal school participate in debate 370
(photo credit: Amal group)
Students from the Druse, Beduin, Arab and Jewish sectors participated in an English debate competition funded by the US Embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv earlier this week.
The competition, which took place for the seventh consecutive year, was initiated by the Amal nationwide network of educational institutions, which aims at advancing comprehensive and technological education in Israel.
According to the organization, the project is aimed at fostering greater tolerance for the viewpoints of others, developing logical and critical thinking, and improving students’ overall English skills, as well as their ability to communicate in general.
Before the competition, students undergo a series of workshops in which they are trained in debating. The workshops and contest are carried out in cooperation with the Israel Debating Society.
Fourteen schools took part in this week’s event, in which 10th- and 11th-grade students were required to discuss – in front of an audience of about 300 people – topics related to youth living in Israel.
Each student was given three minutes to present their position, after which a jury of professionals from the Israel Debating Society selected the outstanding speakers. In addition, the audience was able to vote and select their favorite speaker using a mobile phone system made available for the occasion.
“The US Embassy is proud to be working with our great partner, the Amal network, to support this important project,” James Ryder, deputy cultural attaché of the American Embassy, told The Jerusalem Post.
He explained that the project gives students the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills and learn the importance of understanding the other side of an issue.
“It is only when you fully understand the other side of an argument that you can begin to really understand the people you are arguing with,” he said.
The fact that this project also brings Arab and Jewish kids together to work as a team is also extremely important,” Ryder continued. “It is inspiring to see them working together to practice their English and work towards a common goal.”
Twenty winners were selected and came from schools in, among other places, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Dimona, Taiba, Kiryat Malachi, Kisra and Safed.