04 Feb 2018
Erasmus+ We Debate
By Maria Loizidou, Nikolas Fournaris and Anastasia Efstathiou

What is the Erasmus+ project?

According to the official Erasmus+ website, Erasmus + is an EU Programme in the fields of education, training, youth and sport for the period 2014-2020. Education, training, youth and sport can make a major contribution to help tackle socio-economic changes, the key challenges that Europe will be facing until the end of the decade and to support the implementation of the European policy agenda for growth, jobs, equity and social inclusion. This investment in knowledge, skills and competences will benefit individuals, institutions, organizations and society as a whole by contributing to growth and ensuring equity, prosperity and social inclusion in Europe and beyond. This week, our school is hosting students and teachers from schools in Italy, Spain, Turkey and Croatia, and our School Auditorium will be filled with students and teachers taking part in a WeDebate activity.

What is WeDebate?

WeDebate is one of the Erasmus+ programs and the focus is on debating European principles and foundations. This gives the opportunity to the students to bond with other students in different countries, to meet new faces and probably new friends, to start discussing issues that matter in the world and to gain the confidence to speak about their beliefs. WeDebate is much more than just a process of a normal debating argument and whether one side wins or not. It's about collaborating with foreign people, teaming up with people that have the same ideas as you and finding the voice to speak up and not be quiet about the issues that are happening in this world.

What We've Learned So Far

Preparing for such an internationally renowned program, the lessons learnt have been ever so valuable, because it's encouraged us to integrate and combine different academic fields. To begin with, the preparation involved in a debate has truly made us value good planning and encouraged us to research extensively. It has taught us to swiftly and effectively filter all gathered information to produce a complete piece of work . Gaining such a skill has been crucial not only for this Erasmus+ program but also for any other lesson demanding research and investigation.

Moreover, having a good argument on paper is not enough to mould a successful debater. Quite often improvisation is key and can be used in developing an argument. Such a task is not always easy, as multitasking and quick thinking is certainly required; one's ears need to be alert in order to assemble an appropriate reply. Our mock-debates in school have thoroughly prepared us for this, leaving us confident in our speeches.

Another valuable lesson learnt is the art of public speaking. Cultivating our speaking skills has come with practice and determination. The importance of such a skill is of high magnitude, as regardless of your research, speech or eagerness, if you fail to express yourself in an eloquent manner, your point will not be heard. The Erasmus+ programme has helped us perfect this, and acted as a catalyst to develop such a skill.

Lastly, teamwork is a large part of debating. Being prepared and coordinated as a team is the key to success in debating, because, ultimately, the program is a group activity. The Erasmus+ programme has taught us to work, cooperate and compromise as a group. Adopting such a skill is vital, not only in the microcosm of education but also in everyday life.

Why We're Excited About This Week

Through the Erasmus+ project, we had the lovely opportunity to practice on how to prove and conduct an argument while learning more about the subject we are debating on. We've had numerous Skype calls with other partner schools that are also part of the programme, and this has given us the opportunity to discuss with people whom none of us have met before!

This week, we're looking forward to actually meeting the students we have debated with during those Skype calls as well as many more participants we haven't yet met. We're excited to welcome new friendships, to experience new ideas and new ways of thinking and also to present our own country's culture and identity to our visitors. Our first meeting with our foreign co-debaters is almost here and we are at an all-time high levels of impatience and anticipation!

We will welcome our guests with the custom American Academy Larnaca warmth, and we're sure that this week will be unforgettable for everyone involved!

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