Great Debate
Posted on 13 December 2019

First year student, Katie Exton and second year student, Joel Merrick recently represented the College at the Historical Association's Great Debate Heats in Surrey. This annual event requires students to apply their historical knowledge to answer a broad question. This year’s question was, ‘Should we judge historical figures by the morals of today?’ Students had to deliver a five minute speech and were posed questions about their argument from a panel of historians.

Joel said,I was very excited to prepare a debate for the Historical Association to further my historical writing and public speaking skills and was especially excited due to the question. I started by forming my own basic opinion, “No we should not.” I looked at the views of George Washington, Otto von Bismarck and Colonialism as I believed they would support my argument that history should be judged by the standards of that period, not our modern ideals. I then prepared and planned my speech and began practicing. The event was well organised and the judges gave difficult but manageable questions and critiques and although I didn’t win, I still had an amazing time and am thankful for the opportunity to represent the College.”

Victoria Keitel, Subject Tutor for history commented, “If the quality of the arguments made in this Surrey heat are indicative of the quality of the rest of the UK then the final is going to be fantastic and hard-fought. I am really proud of our students who worked hard to hone their public speaking skills.”