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Archive for June, 2014

Getting ready for the Big Green Challenge Final

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

After a lot of hard work and several rounds of heated debate, eight schools across the Highlands and Islands meet in Edinburgh this Friday for the final of the Big Green Challenge.  It’s a debating competition for schools, focussed on renewable energy. The teams taking part come from  Nairn Academy, Millburn Academy, Lossiemouth High School, Charleston Academy, Portree High School , Hermitage Academy, Alness Academy and Kingussie High School.

I was at judge at one of the heats of the competition.  It was really great to hear youngsters debate and challenge the issues in the renewable energy sector.  It was also pretty clear they’d done a lot of work in preparation for the competition.   Whether successful or not, they’ve learnt a lot of useful skills for their future careers.

Being able to speak in public is a great skill and one many of us struggle with in our working lives.  The learning curve for this skill is more gradual when you start young as the pupils in this competition.  What amazed me was how able they were for pupils from S1 to S3.  Not only have they learnt about public speaking, they also had to deal with interventions and responding on the spot. No going away and thinking about it but being able to come up with an answer there and then.  There were some who found it harder than others. One pupil in particular struggled to cope with an intervention so we had a pause. But the same young man stood up again and completed his speech.  This was as impressive as the general standard of debate at that particular debate.

So I’m looking forward to seeing the teams debate with each other at the Scottish Parliament on Friday.  Many thanks to the sponsors, SSE and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Europe. Thanks also due to Mike MacKenzie MSP for hosting the event at Holyrood.

 Good luck to everyone competing.!