Before I say a lot about the debate club and how it has helped learners in different ways regarding language skills, I would like to explain what club is. Thus, the term club is explained in the following lines.

Club is an association dedicated to a particular interest or activity. It can also mean a group of people who meet together regularly, for a particular activity. Club can also be explained as an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal.

Clubs can have different purposes depending on the wishes of the club members or founders. It is in that case Ecole Primaire Saint Ignace (henceforth EPSI) thought well by putting in place different clubs for its pupils, to help them to develop their talents as well as learning new things from one another. Among those clubs that take place at EPSI I can mention: Traditional dances Club, Creativity Club, ICT Club, Debate Club and so forth.

Among the different clubs mentioned above, I would like to put an emphasis on debate club, as I am one of its members and facilitators. As it is mentioned above, debate club is one of the different clubs which take place at EPSI. The foremost purpose of this club is to help learners to increase their speaking skills, self confidence in expressing themselves as well as enriching their English language proficiency.

On the one hand, this club is a good opportunity which helps the club members to increase their speaking skills.  We provide different debate motions and encourage learners to discuss the motions through public speaking. Therefore, when they are trying to gather their thoughts about the given motion and as they put them out by speaking, this helps them to enhance their speaking skills.

On the other hand, this club also helps learners to feel confident when expressing themselves. One of the serious challenges in education field is the transfer of knowledge, whereby the learners know a lot in their heads (theories) but they are not able to use what they know in their daily lives (theory versus praxis). That is why this debate club is an important channel that helps learners to put into practice what they learn in class in terms of language (English), thus, it helps them to express themselves and communicate fluently using English language.

Moreover, debate club not only helps learners to increase their speaking skills and self expression but also acquire new knowledge in language in terms of vocabulary. As pupils know different words, some may acquire new terms from others. Hence, this helps learners to enrich their English, specifically vocabulary.

However, debate club has some challenges. Few people still sneer at their neighbors when they speak mistakes. Consequently, for fear of making mistakes, some pupils prefer keeping quiet, because whey they make mistakes they can be sneered at. Other few people also want to monopolise the speech.

In a nutshell, I appreciate the way the school had a good thought of creating different clubs to help learners to develop their different talents and acquire new things. Specifically, I highlight the tremendous role of the debate club in the way it helps learners to develop their speaking skills, expressing themselves in English language as well as acquiring new knowledge. This is because the motions are all-encompassing since they go through various topics.

Recommendation: If possible, we would like the school leadership to organize the debate competition, for we think this will help learners and facilitators to evaluate how much fruitful the debate club is.

Teacher Sylvestre IYAMUREMYE, Debate club facilitator.