There is a certain cicero – certainly not unknown to high school students – who has been said to have been one of the rudest orators for 2000 years. Uber die redekunst has written a long work, which has been preserved to the regret of many a generation of latin school students. The school issue featured a roman orator standing tall before a non-existent audience with his arm outstretched and his gaze straight ahead.
The students of the ehrenburg-gymnasium (EGF) did not have to measure themselves against his noble attitude in bronze when they took part in the school finals of the "jugend debattiert" competition entered. But the audience was very much there, crowding the four disputants – from a purely spatial point of view – with many more students in the double classroom than there were chairs to fit into it. A challenge for anyone who has to speak up front. Nothing works without a microphone or headset. And then there are the rather rigid competition conditions for the final: only just before the start of the debate round did the four participants find out whether they had to argue pro or contra. In the meantime, her teacher thomas lukat slipped into the role of moderator and asked the whole school to endure two rounds of debates.
Like in ancient rome
And there it was: headset on! The winners of the secondary two preliminary round – kira franke, kilian hollfelder, michael straulino and pascal quicker – stood behind the four beer crates that had been transformed into lecterns with white signs stuck on them. Nothing there with nice armchairs and neat little desks in front of them, with water glasses and small writing utensils, like in the talk show on tv. Robust as in the roman courthouse (rarely noble women's marble, mostly blob a corner in the gemusemarkt) it went in the EGF. "Timekeeper" tom burgard clarified the time rules again and then it was kira franke's turn in position pro 1 to give her statement on whether comfort rooms should be set up in the ehrenburg for the schools.
No easy task in such ancient roman conditions. Well, no one has haggled over the minimum wage during the debate. There were also no cheeky interjections. However, in the course of the half hour, several school heads sank downwards, already parallel to the increase in the carbon dioxide content of the indoor air.
Her opponents, as well as her opponent in the pro-two position, scribbled notes and catchphrases on the sheets of paper. Eyes mostly downcast. When they made their own contribution, they did look at the audience.
Tough conditions for a debate, one can only say. And for that, the four of them put up a really brave fight, put together some good factual arguments and kept to the rules of the game. And remained factual, factual, factual. Sparse gestures, hardly any emotion, and certainly nothing striking. The jury of two fellow students and a teacher did not like that at all. But pascal quicker received a slight reprimand for occasionally raising his voice with emotion.
Courtly final applause was all that the audience contributed. Are comfort rooms not a topic of discussion at school??
No, later revealed michael straulino, who is more familiar with the term "academic debate could make friends. He and his colleagues on the podium had no opinion on the matter. According to his observation, even the preliminary round, in which standing room in soccer stadiums was the subject of debate, was the worst. A subject that has been bothering not only schoolchildren for some time now. "Some of them had to argue completely against their own opinion."
so seen the rather hypothetical topic was better. The fact that no one was under the illusion that the debate round was contributing to the formation of public will or even influencing the decisions of the district council, the school's governing body, which has included the renovation of the building in its agenda. Cicero, on the other hand, would have been saddened by the lack of the impact on the audience that he so highly valued.
But: cicero's so praised speeches ultimately shortened his life considerably.