The Debating and Discussion Society, a facet of school life lacking for too long at Monoux, was brought into being by the initiative of a Bulletin editorial and on a wave of enthusiasm. Over sixty people attended the inaugural meeting to elect the committee and secretary. This committee, it was decided, should consist of one Fourth-former, one from the Fifth and one from the Sixth, with two others. Stringer, Tamplin. Bingham, Tebbs and Knock were elected and Silvester was made secretary with a place of course, ex-officio, in the committee's deliberations. The Headmaster and three assistant Masters have given the society their support: Messrs. Couch, Howden and Purkis.
Since the first meeting of 14th November the Society has held two debates and two discussions, but its membership has fallen below what was expected. Those who have attended, however, have in general spent a lively and enjoyable hour.
The society meets every Tuesday at 4.5 pm and hopes next term to enter a nation-wide scheme of discussions which is to be held monthly by a big national daily newspaper.
Inter Schools discussion group
Meetings of the group have been held regularly during the last two terms at various schools in the district. Schools new to the group are Wanstead, Buckhurst Hill, and Leyton; the older member schools are , Monoux, Walthamstow, Woodford, Ghingford, and Loughton.
The size of the meetings varies considerably, but the average attendance is about thirty, and at one meeting over forty people were present.
Subjects for discussion have included: "Modern Art is Decadent," "This House will not Fight for King and Country," " Are Women Illogical?" " The Present Labour Government does not warrant its Re-election in 1950," " All the World is an Arena," and "The Society most Beneficial to Art is a Communist One."
A debate, "That the Arts should be an Entertainment and not a Stimulus to Thought," was held at the end of last term, and the motion was passed by a very narrow majority. In future the aim is to have a debate about once a term, so that discussion does not get too free or inconsequential.
At the meetings there is always a majority of girls present, but only on one occasion did more than one or two girls speak. This was when the subject was "Are Women Illogical?"
The discussions are always lively, but. perhaps they would be better if people prepared something to say beforehand instead of leaving their speeches to a moment of inspiration. If this were done, rather more specialised subjects could be discussed with greater success.
We are all greatly indebted to our chairman for consenting to spend an evening listening to what is too often only frivolous discussion.
The Group held very successful meetings regularly once a fortnight during the previous term.
Subjects for discussion have included: "This House believes in the Existence of a God," "The British Monarchy is an Archaic Institution," "Science has benefited Civilisation more than the Arts," "The Possession of a Conscience is a Handicap," and "This House believes in Marriage". This last motion was passed gloriously by a full house!
A Balloon Debate was held in a crowded School Library, when six people from various schools represented famous personalities, who were in turn thrown out of a balloon as ballast. They were: Winston Churchill, Cleopatra, Faust, Ingrid Bergman, G.B. Shaw and Bacchus. Winston was immediately ejected, while Ingrid died a lingering death, to leave Cleopatra and G.B.S. to fight it out. After a bitter struggle our sage triumphed by the hairs of his beard, and saved the day.
At another meeting it was decided that a variety of subjects should be discussed, as they were picked out of a hat. They were: "The Effect of a third World War on present Civilisation," " Equalitarianism has gone too far," and "Wisdom and Egotism are proportioned to Age." This last meeting was very stimulating and very many ideas were discussed.
We would like to express gratitude to Mr. Stirrup for the use of the School Library on various occasions and to our Chairman for presiding over our meetings.