The students at EC Oxford enjoyed the perfect chance to practise their speaking and listening skills on Friday 21st October at yet another Oxford Union Debating Workshop! The workshop was a huge success, and took place in a stunning historic building right in the centre of the city, just minutes away from our school. 8 students from EC participated this time around, all with the aim of practising the skills they’ve learnt at EC English Language Centres in authentic situations.
The Oxford Union is one of the oldest and most prestigious debating societies in the world, with an unparalleled reputation for welcoming international guests and speakers to the city. Our students look forward to this event as it offers them a chance to engage in a ‘real’ discussion based on real issues and current affairs. The workshops are an unmissable opportunity for students to practise their Speaking and Listening skills in a productive, real-life situation.
This first workshop of the new term covered a recent hot topic: the upcoming United States General Elections. The workshop started with a short presentation about the US elections, which was really useful as it allowed students to take note of any new or interesting vocabulary related to the topic. Students were split into two groups (Followers of Donald Trump’s Republican Party versus Followers of Hilary Clinton’s Democratic Party) before discussing politics, revising vocabulary, and preparing themselves for the debate. Another event was held on Tuesday 25th October, when EC students were invited to a discussion about mental health. Everyone was surprised to learn that 25% of all adults suffer from mental health illnesses and conditions, and this figure doubles to 50% amongst Oxford University students! Many feel that drastic action must be taken to fight these high percentages and tackle the general stigma, failing institutions and crises in care. The discussion was led by experts in the field, including:
- Stephen K Amos – Stand-up Comedian and patron of mental health charity Time to Change
- Dr Linda Papadopoulos – TV psychologist and academic
- Dr Nicola Byrom – Founding chair of the charity Student Minds
- Julie Fast – International bestselling writer on bipolar disorder and depression
- Liz Fraser – Director of Headcase