The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Discussion Group

Online Debates

During the coronavirus restrictions, the Discussion Group conducted some weekly debates using e-mail & phone for submitting answers which were summarised in this website.

Initially we circulated 12 general/timeless questions for debate to which members of the Group added new quesions:

General/Timeless Questions

After that we moved on to Discussion-type questions and topical questions including questions linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eventually we tended to look at questions that avoided the doom and gloom of the coronavirus outbreak

The Debates

Feedback on our debates was summarised in a separate page for each question and the summaries were circulated once a week

The Debates

We took a break after Debate 20.

Last Week's Debate

Question without a Vote

20A - With the Government seeking to boost numbers on vocational courses and apprenticeships, why do you think school leavers are applying for degree courses in record numbers?

Debate 20A - Why Degrees are so popular

Questions with a Vote

20B - With more focus on employer-led further education, should school leavers still be given the choice to study the arts and "third-rate degrees"?

Debate 20B - Whether Degrees should be employment-based

20C - With the current and growing practices of "public shaming" , ostracism and threats of violence, will people in the public eye be reluctant to express opposing views in future?

Debate 20C - Threats to Freedom of Speech

20D - In a letter to our local paper, the A& T, a Highcliffe man states that:

" view of the economic hardships being experienced by millions of people now, and possibly many years to come, we need to put aside climate emergency declarations, such as BCP (Bournemouth, Christchurch& Poole) Council's (on 16 July 2019) for the time being...."

Do you agree with him?

Debate 20D - Whether climate changs activities should be suspended

Lessons Learnt

I thought that it would be useful for me to list some of the lessons that I learnt from the exercise:

1. After an early experiment with Zoom, I chose to use e-mail communications so that everyone could join in if they wanted to

2. I knew that it was not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I hoped that everyone would get something out of the exercise.

3. Some members of the Group submitted questions, jokes and amusing videos.

4. The debate questions that worked best were those where there could be a Yes, No or Undecided answer. In discussions it does not matter so much.

5. We started with typical timeless debate questions but soon switched to topical questions which had a bit more life in them

6. I gradually steered the questions away from the doom and gloom of the coronavirus

7. Some of the e-mails included humour which helped!

8. Some weeks I found it a struggle to find good suitable questions. But we were conducting weekly debates as against monthly discussions.

9. As I learnt as an examiner, people don’t always answer the question (e.g. Yes, No or Undecided)!

10. On oiccasions some people hedged their bets, e.g. Yes but.....!

11. I wish I had learnt earlier that some people preferred to give their answers over the phone. A small sub-group made the phone calls and I would have built this in earlier.

12. It would have been easier if I had had everyone’s phone numbers as well as their e-mail addresses. Something to discuss some time

13. Some members of the Group were able to type up more detailed answers than other members. There are various reasons for this of course.

14. Some members of the Group have perhaps been able to get their points of view heard more easily than during our discussions!

15. I missed meeting up of course including bringing up subjects we had debated already, which then come up in the news. If only they had asked us!

16. Some members of the Group wanted to meet up fortnightly when discussions resumed.

17. I thought that we had given the idea of debates and votes a good run

Hopefulky we would be able to get back to good-ole discussions again.

Colin Bower
25 July 2020

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