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Help your pupils to speak their mind

Teachers in Wales are being offered courses in debating skills so they can pass them on to pupils, even those as young as five.

Organised by the Welsh Debating Federation and the English Speaking Union, a one-day training course was held in Cardiff with more expected to follow.

Its aim was to help children become more articulate.

James Brimble, chairman of the federation, said debating skills were essential, especially with the emergence of compulsory school councils in Wales.

"We set up the federation in 2001 to encourage debating within Welsh schools and universities," he said. "We have sent out a guide on debating techniques to every school in Wales."

But Mr Brimble said debating should be for everyone. "Pupils of every age can take part. They all have views on things, even if it's school dinners or the uniform."

The federation says debating gives pupils confidence, teaching them how to analyse and structure an argument, explore current issues and work in a team.

He added that with the new Welsh baccalaureate, debating skills would return to the mainstream of education.

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