Commonwealth Class: Debate archive


Calderglen High School in East Kilbride, Scotland

Date: 19/06/2014


Calderglen High School in East Kilbride, Scotland feature in our final Commonwealth Class: School stories, competition winning film.

Harry and Eve from Calderglen High School take a look at the more unusual lessons on offer at their school and speak to some of their fellow pupils about the value of education.

Calderglen High School also has a sports partnership with Mountview High School in Cape Town, South Africa. Some of the pupils speak about their trips to South Africa and how it has influenced their attitude towards education.

Debate Points:

  • What is the value of education?
  • How important is education to you and other young people?
  • Which subject do you wish you could study in your school?

Live debate: Education

Authors Live: Steve Backshall

Authors Live: Steve Backshall

Date: 12/06/2014


Author, adventurer and acclaimed wildlife journalist Steve Backshall joins Authors Live.

Steve talks about animal and environmental conservation, two themes which feature in his book 'Tiger Wars and Ghosts of the Forest'.

Debate Points:

  • Which animals are native to your country?
  • What can we do to protect endangered animals?
  • Why is it important to protect the environment?

Following Authors Live Steve took part in a Q&A session with Commonwealth Class.

Authors Live: Steve Backshall.

Our Home and Native Land

outdoor education

Date: 05/06/2014


Dr. Wilbert Keon School in Chapeau, Canada features in the first of our Commonwealth Class: School stories, competition winning films. In this film, the students focus on Native Canadian people and their own local Anishnabe (Algonquin) heritage.

They also take part in a Drum Circle, meet a medicine woman and visit Oiseau rock where they learn about the aboriginal paintings there. Dr. Wilbert Keon School is located in Chapeau, a village in the Canadian province of Quebec, located along the Ottawa River.

Debate Points:

  • What are the benefits of outdoor education?
  • How much do you know about the indigenous people in Commonwealth countries?
  • How can we protect our heritage?

Our Home and Native Land

Authors Live: Lucy Hawking

Lucy Hawking, author - Authors Live

Date: 22/05/14


Lucy Hawking, author of the George books, joins Authors Live to talk about science and the imagination.

Lucy also brings a message from her co-author and father Professor Stephen Hawking.

Debate Points:

  • What do you like about science?
  • What opportunities are there in science for young people?
  • How could scientists help solve some of today's problems?

Following the Authors Live event, Lucy Hawking took part in a Q&A session with Commonwealth Class.

Authors Live: Lucy Hawking

Music Education

BBC SSO - India, Violin

Date: 01/05/14


Music educationalist Paul Rissmann travelled with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to India on their recent tour. His role was to present the concerts and workshops run by the SSO for children in India. Many of the children were hearing an orchestra for the first time and Paul's job was to make sense of the music for this young audience.

Indian classical violinist and singer Kala Ramnath also performs for Commonwealth Class showing us the differences between Western classical and Indian classical music. Indian music is much more improvisational, but she believes that all children should get the chance to hear music and to learn an instrument.

Debate Points:

  • What are the benefits of music education and do you think is it properly valued?
  • Which instruments can you play/would you like to learn?

Music Education Debate


Susie Rodgers

Date: 24/04/14


Commonwealth Class talk to Team England Paralympic Swimmer Susie Rodgers.

In the film Susie talks about the advantages and disadvantages of the Para Sport programme at the Commonwealth Games, recognition of Para athletes around the world and what motivates her.

Debate Points:

  • What opportunities are there in your area for children with disabilities?
  • Are Para-athletes given enough recognition?

Diversity debate


Kei Miller, interview with students

Date: 20/03/14


Poet Kei Miller is originally from Jamaica and now lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.

Commonwealth Class travels to Hillhead Primary School in Glasgow. The students there take part in a poetry workshop with Kei, who answers their questions and gives them some tips for writing their own poems.

Debate Points:

  • How important do you think it is to learn traditional poetry from your country?
  • Do you have poets who inspire you and why?

We also asked students to write a 20 word poem and send it in to the debate.

Poetry debate

Commonwealth Day: Illustration Slam

Authors Live: Illustration slam

Date: 13/03/14


Illustrators Debi Gliori, Chris Riddell, Piet Grobler and Commonwealth Class ambassador Eilidh Child all feature in this Authors Live event which celebrates flags and using pictures to inspire a story.

Debate points:

  • How did your school celebrate Commonwealth Day?
  • If you could design your own Commonwealth Flag, what would it look like and why?
  • The theme of Commonwealth Day is Team Commonwealth - how important is it to be part of a team?

Commonwealth Day: Illustration Slam

Food Stories

Samoan rugby sevens team enjoy the Sunday meal

Date: 06/03/14


Samoan rugby players have a fierce reputation for their physical strength and skills on the pitch, but family values and brotherhood lie at the core of their team's power. Mark is invited in to help the players prepare a traditional Sunday feast.

Debate Points:

  • What are the traditional foods of your country?
  • What is your favourite meal and what is the story behind it?

We also asked students to tell us about their best and worst school meals to mark International School Meals Day.

Food Stories debate

Pupil Councils

Khanya Lesedi

Date: 27/02/14


Commonwealth Class meets pupils from Newbattle Community High School in Dalkeith, Scotland and their partner school Khanya Lesedi in South Africa to find out more about their respective pupil representative councils and the issues that they address.

Debate points:

  • Does your school have a pupil council? If so, what changes have they made?
  • How important is it for students to have a say in the running of their school?

Pupil Councils debate


Joel Hodgson, Commonwealth Class Joel Hodgson

Date: 16/01/14


Joel Hodgson a 400m athlete from Belize talks with Commonwealth Class about his experience with homelessness and preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Debate points:

  • What can be done to prevent homelessness?
  • How do extreme weather conditions affect homelessness throughout the Commonwealth?
  • Have you been affected by homelessness or not having shelter?

Homelessness debate

Self-esteem and confidence

Lee Craigie Lee Craigie

Date: 12/12/13


British National Mountain Biking Champion Lee Craigie talks with Commonwealth Class about her work with young people and the benefits of sport on self-esteem and confidence.

Debate points:

  • How do you think sport can help people deal with their feelings?
  • What effect does sport have on you and does it boost your confidence?
  • What things or people make a difference to your self-esteem and confidence?

Self-esteem and confidence debate

Authors Live: Island Living

Mairi Hedderwick, Authors live with Commonwealth Class: Island living Mairi Hedderwick, Authors live

Date: 28/11/13


Authors Live session with Mairi Hedderwick author of the Katie Morag books.

Debate points:

  • Do you live on an island? What is it like and do you enjoy staying there?
  • If you don't live on an island, how do you think it would compare to where you live now?
  • What traditional games do you play where you live?

Katie Morag author Mairi Hedderwick participated in a Q&A session following the Authors Live event.

Island Living debate

International Education Week: Language

Shawlands Academy for Commonwealth Class Shawlands Academy

Date: 21/11/13


Students from Shawlands Academy in Glasgow, Scotland discuss the languages they use at home, in the classroom and with friends in the playground.

With over 30 languages spoken in the school the students, who also attend a 'Language of the month club' where they learn about the language, food and culture of different countries, have lots to talk about.

Debate points:

  • What languages do you speak and where do you speak them?
  • Why do you think it is important to speak other languages?

International Education Week: Language debate

Commonwealth Youth

Commonwealth Youth, Kirkstall St Stephens Commonwealth Youth: Kirkstall St Stephens

Date: 14/11/13


Commonwealth Class travels to two schools, St Sylvester's College in Kandy, Sri Lanka and their twin school Kirkstall St Stephen's in Leeds, England.

The students in each of the schools have very different experiences when it comes to their daily lessons, language and even the weather they experience in the playground. They do, however, have a lot in common when it comes to the issues that matter to them.

Debate points:

  • What steps could you take to improve the environment?
  • How important is going to school? Why?
  • If you had the chance, what issue would you put to the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM)?

Commonwealth Youth debate

Authors Live: Storytelling

Lari Don, Peter Chand and Mara Menzies - Authors Live, Storytelling Relay with Commonwealth Class Lari Don, Peter Chand and Mara Menzies

Date: 31/10/13


Authors Live 'Storytelling Relay' with the Scottish Book Trust.

Authors Live brought together storytellers Peter Chand, Lari Don and Mara Menzies (India, Scotland & Kenya) to share traditional tales from their homeland in this storytelling relay.

Debate points:

  • What traditional stories are told in your country?
  • Which important stories would you choose to pass on to other children?
  • Do you enjoy telling or writing stories?

This debate included a Q&A session following the live storytelling session with the Authors Peter Chand, Lari Don and Mara Menzies.

Storytelling debate

Queen's Baton Relay

Mark Beaumont with School Reporter's Asma and Rory - Commonwealth Class Mark Beaumont with School Reporter's Asma and Rory

Date: 11/10/13


BBC School Report interview with Mark Beaumont and a live stream of the Scottish Symphony Orchestra's Queen's Baton Relay Concert.

Debate points:

  • Is the Queen's Baton coming to your country?
  • How does music make you feel?
  • Can music bring people closer together?

This debate also included a live Q&A session with conductor Stephen Bell and presenter Paul Rissmann following the schools concert.

Queen's Baton Relay debate

Girls in Sport

Maria Toorpakai Wazir Maria Toorpakai Wazir

Date: 12/09/13


Commonwealth Class meet Maria Toorpakai-Wazir a 22 year-old Squash player from South Waziristan, a highly conservative area of Pakistan, who from a young age disguised herself as a boy in order to play sports.

Debate Points:

  • How do you think sport can help change attitudes towards girls around the world?
  • Do you think girls get equal chances in sport? If not, why not?

Girls in Sport debate

What makes you laugh?

Madras College School Reporters from Madras College

Date: 29/08/13


School Reporters from Madras College in St Andrews, Scotland spoke with award-winning British comedian Tim Fitzhigham at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Debate points:

  • How do you think comedy works in different countries?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • How do you think comedy can be used to tackle global issues?

What makes you laugh debate

School Journeys

Isabelle smiles Isabelle walks to school Barefoot

Date: 27/06/13


This film follows young people in Mount Elgon in Kenya who run to school. It also features Linet Masai and her brother Moses who attended Bishop Okring Secondary in the foothills of Mount Elgon who have gone on to become successful athletes.

Debate Points:

  • How safe is your journey to school?
  • Do you think more children should be encouraged to walk to school?

School Journeys debate


Usain Bolt Usain Bolt

Date: 13/06/13


Meet the world's fastest man Usain Bolt and the woman behind his meteoric rise to global superstardom, PE teacher Lorna Thorpe.

Debate points:

  • Who or what inspires you to achieve?
  • What are your ambitions?

Inspiration debate

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