Blazing a trail for QE’s linguists

Blazing a trail for QE’s linguists

A national French debating competition is to become an annual fixture in the QE calendar after two Sixth Form teams showed the way with strong performances.

With only a week’s notice, Anshul Sajip and Zeke Essex, of Year 13, and Awad Shah and Vineeth Rajan, of Year 12, volunteered for QE’s first appearance in the Joutes Oratoires*.

In the debates, which were held virtually after school hours, the QE linguists had both to defend and to oppose three motions, covering civil liberties, the environment and artificial intelligence.

Congratulating them for their enthusiastic participation in the event organised in this region by St Paul’s Girls’ School, Languages Assistant Joelle Simpson, said: “The motions would not be altogether easy to support or defend in English, let alone in the French language!

“Both teams received strong scores throughout, and Awad and Vineeth won two out of three of their debates,” said Mme Simpson, who prepared the teams.

“They all found the experience a very valuable one and blazed a trail for future cohorts. Thanks to them, the event will become an annual feature in the QE calendar.”

Unfortunately, with 39 teams competing in the London region and only eight able to proceed, the two QE teams did not reach the next round.

The three motions were:

  1. Governments should have leeway to limit individual liberties in times of health crises
  2. Green economic growth is an illusion
  3. Artificial Intelligence is a threat for humanity.

QE’s Head of Languages, Nora Schlatte, was a member of the jury, and saw Vineeth and Awad in action. “Their research, poise and accuracy of language were amazing,” she said “Vineeth’s opening speech was described as ‘un modèle du genre’ [a model of its kind] and both boys responded very well to some challenging questions. Participating in something like this, especially remotely, is really daunting and they did brilliantly.”

* The term joutes oratoires dates back to the Middle Ages in France, when jouteurs (literally ‘jousters’) would duel in verse.