Sat | Feb 24, 2018

Debate Mate gives a new perspective for discussions

Published:Sunday | March 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Holy Trinity High Students involved in Debate Mate make the ‘Point’ along with mentor Germaine Barrett (right) and their teacher, André Brown (second left).

Students at Holy Trinity High School and St Michaels Primary have learnt a new way to approach discussion through Debate Mate, courtesy of Scotiabank.

Launched in the United Kingdom, the programme has proved to have a positive influence on the way youth engage in conflict.

Debate Mate uses a peer-to-peer method of teaching debating that enables students to channel negative behaviours into positive and constructive ways. This programme and debate technique can also be applied to effectively resolve conflict, teach critical thinking, communication, and team work.

The core of the training utilises PEEL (Point Evidence Explanation Link) to structure arguments in a systematic way.

The process of PEEL involves identifying the point, providing an explanation, giving examples, and finally, linking the argument to the main point.

Utilising this technique, says Debate Mate mentor Germaine Barrett, is applicable to all life-related activities.




Barrett, who has been working with the Holy Trinity High School, said that he is very impressed with the level of participation from the children and the interaction with the school. According to him, "It has been a fulfilling experience to see the students become talkative and expressive through this programme."

In like manner, members of the group shared their own testimonies about how the programme has transformed them, including learning how to express themselves more effectively. According to Jahmoi Richards: "I was the shyest person at this school before I became part of this group. Debate Mate has helped me share my opinions and become more outspoken."

This was further endorsed by their teacher, AndrÈ Brown, who said that the programme has allowed students to become bolder and better able to express themselves, especially when utilising these skills in writing persuasive essays.

"We are very focused on empowering young people by cultivating key skills that will enable their success," said Yanique Forbes Patrick, vice-president marketing, Scotiabank. "We look forward to working with Debate Mate in transforming our youth and using debate as a vehicle for their personal development."

Both schools have recently participated, and, subsequently, won debates against their peers.