Language and literacy development are central to students’ intellectual, social, cultural, and emotional growth, and are thus seen as key components across the curriculum at RMS. We believe that when students learn to use language, they do more than simply master basic skills – they learn to value the power of language and to use it responsibly; they learn to respectfully express feelings and opinions and to support those opinions with sound arguments and evidence from research. Essentially, then, a primary goal at RMS is to develop language and literacy skills, whereby learning to communicate with logic, clarity and precision will help students to not only achieve academic success, but also thrive in the world beyond school.
To thrive in today’s digital age, young people must develop competencies vastly different from those required of us in the past – in all reality, the young people of today are being educated for an unpredictable future; they are essentially being trained for careers which are yet to be imagined, let alone to exist. With this inspiring, yet somewhat daunting reality in mind, it is increasingly important for us educators to facilitate what educational literature is calling the development of 21st century skills, namely, critical thinking, creativity and innovation, and above all else, perseverance. It is in the face of this unprecedented reality that we turn to language and literacy development here at RMS.
On March 3 and 4, in addition to the traditional orations done heretofore at RMS’s annual Speech Night for Grades 1-6, which require avid research, writing and oral communication skills, our Grade 7 and 8 students were further challenged by having to take a position on a controversial or arguable topic and clearly, logically and persuasively support that position in the context of a debate. RMS parents, teachers and administration congratulate all of our students for their diligent efforts to develop well-written compositions and to deliver them with confidence and pride, but moreover, we feel inspired about what participation in this literacy event, among the many others underway at the Academy, will mean for the future of our young people.
Debate is essentially “critical advocacy.” It is advocacy in that the debater must advocate, propose, and defend ideas. It is critical because the debater must not ignore the advocacy of others, but must engage them and use the tools of critical thinking to evaluate the ideas of others. This process of critical advocacy has been shown to involve students in important behaviours, skills and emotional intelligences that we strive to cultivate in Rowntree’s citizens of tomorrow.
BENEFITS FROM DEBATE INVOLVEMENT IN RELATION TO 21ST c. COMPETENCIES:
- Debaters become better critical thinkers and communicators.
- Debaters improve their social interactions and personal expression.
- Debaters develop the capability to confront the seemingly infinite volumes of information on any topic and select relevant data.
- Debaters become creative problem-solvers who can “think on their feet” to bring existing information to novel situations.
- Debaters develop the comfort of working with others and knowing when to lead and when to follow.
- Debaters develop the capacity to persevere through setbacks.
Debaters tend to become citizens in the real sense of the word – informed, active, participating, a force to be harnessed for the betterment of all.
We look forward to seeing you and sharing with you the private school community of which we are so proud!