Debate to Collaborate!

This week at The Kingbridge Centre we have the pleasure of housing the 2013 International Independent Schools’ Public Speaking Championship (IISPC) hosted by The Country Day School here in King City, Ontario.

Students from across the globe ranging in age from 14 to 18 have gathered to compete in this intellectual competition with their peers for the opportunity to move on to the World Championship competition in Lithuania next year.

These teens present up to 12 minute memorized speeches (wow!) and debate some very sophisticated topics including long term care shortages and government policy.  One of the most amazing things was observing the skill with which these students considered and responded to opposition, questions were addressed and rebuked with both respect and tact.  Skills that are absolutely necessary for successful collaboration in business and beyond but that are often lacking.

In our global economy, the ability to effectively collaborate is quickly moving from a specialized skill for facilitators and moderators to a necessity for all.  It is programs like IISPC and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology) that teach youth the ‘soft’ skills beyond the core curriculum of reading, writing and mathematics that will prepare students to be effective collaborators in the future.  Gracious professionalism, active listening and the art of articulation and presenting a cogent argument are the keystone to successful cross discipline and cross culture communications that have come to define organizational success.

Today’s Kingbridge insight is both a question and a challenge, “How do we effectively integrate programs that provide the ‘soft’ skills required to thrive in a dynamic economy into the public school curriculum?”  This challenge is obviously fraught with bureaucratic hurdles and funding issues but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress”
~ Frederick Douglass, Leader for the Abolitionist Movement

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About John

“John Abele is a pioneer and leader in the field of less-invasive medicine, For more than four decades, John has devoted himself to innovation in health care, business and solving social problems.” He is retired Founding Chairman of Boston Scientific Corporation. John holds numerous patents and has published and lectured extensively on the technology of various medical devices and on the technical, social, economic, and political trends and issues affecting healthcare. His major interests are science literacy for children, education, and the process by which new technology is invented, developed, and introduced to society. Current activities include Chair of the FIRST Foundation which works with high school kids to make being science-literate cool and fun, and development of The Kingbridge Centre and Institute, a conferencing institution whose mission is to research, develop, and teach improved methods for interactive conferencing: problem solving, conflict resolution, strategic planning, new methods for learning and generally help groups to become “Collectively intelligent.” He lives with his wife and two dogs in Shelburne, Vermont.”

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