On Wednesday, March 7th, we were privileged to host day 1 of the Regional Round of World Scholar’s Cup at ISL Qatar. It has been dubbed among us, “bring Doha home.” Five coaches have committed to guiding and training two scores of students, 21 of which ultimately attended this round.
The new theme this year is An Entangled World, suggesting that the things we know, remember, and interact with in the world are intricately and meaningfully interconnected. A team debate motion might be “This house believes that we should develop the technology to extract memories.”
Curiously, being in the WSC enables us to make connections to our IB curriculum; in particular, linking the experiences from each event to some of the learner profile traits. A few of our teams united to offer us the following reflections on just that. From the words of one dynamic team—Sebastian Santoni, Youssef Barakat, and Raed Asad—here they reflect on the trait of being courageous:
"The World Scholar’s Cup inspires and encourages scholars to take risks through its diversity. Unlike other competitions, success doesn’t lie in one skill but instead in the ability to do well in a range of areas and cooperate as a team. In our experience, apart from the fact that our team has really good chemistry, our team is successful because we each specialize in different areas that together make us a strong team overall. The fact that we attempt to also carry our weight in our weakest areas shows how the WSC is a great opportunity to take risks. Whether it’s a debater trying to write a persuasive essay or a scholar specialized in science attempting to analyze a poem, we’ve all taken risks for the benefit of our team and our learning.
“Another example is when I (Raed) did my first three debates. I took the risk of going into Regionals with almost no experience in a debate and managed to become a somewhat competent first speaker where I opened up the debate for the second and third speakers to make really good points and rebuttals. Another example is when I went into regionals in general. This was probably the largest academic competition I’ve ever been in and managed to win six medals, with three being individual and three being team medals. On top of that I managed to win first place in the history section of the challenge and 13th place in writing, which is a major accomplishment for someone in his first year.”
Our pride and privilege go with their accomplishments. Another team (consisting of Hannah Mathew, Patricia Indico, and Putu Narayanan) offers their reflections on the IB trait of knowledgeable:
“The World Scholar’s Cup incorporates the IB learner profile of being knowledgeable because of the content in the curriculum that extends our student learning and understanding of conceptual information of the world around us. The content of the curriculum helps us in our education at school in being more knowledgeable of different aspects of learning, resulting in more information attained, which can be applied to our future lives. This year, the information in the curriculum is diverse in various areas of education, making the information applicable to almost all subjects at school and general knowledge. Global affairs are also implemented in the curriculum which would help in our current knowledge of the world today, keeping us updated on current events occurring worldwide.”
Next, the mostly veteran team of Ziyad Anwer, Charlotte Le, and Thomas Freundt reflect on being a communicator:
“We believe that communicating is very important in debate because in order to win a debate, you have to be able to effectively convey your ideas to make your side of the motion stronger. This includes not only your verbal but also non-verbal communication because in debate you often have to be confident and have good body posture, which influences how people interpret your ideas—if you’re more confident, you’re more likely to be interpreted in a positive way.
“Now, how is communication used during the written exam? As you are in a group that has to discuss the ideas to write, you have to first be able to get your ideas across to each other so that others can understand and write about what you’re saying. Secondly, you have to clearly express your ideas in written language so that the examiners can understand you.
“In the Scholar’s Bowl, you’ll be required to work with your teammates to communicate which answer is the most suitable to the question under short time pressure. Most of the time, no one in your group has studied all of the topics, so the amount of information that you have is limited and therefore has to be shared by those who know it.”
Finally, debate-showcase scholar Ra’nna Mughal and her teammates Lubna Amer and Amine Hanoun, offer us the following thoughtful reflection on the learner trait of inquirer:
“As IB learners, we develop a passion for discovery. Through attending WSC we acquire many skills essential in the conducting of inquiry and research. But the best part is that we learn these skills through actively enjoying learning. This love of learning stems from the engaging, complex and interesting topics that WSC asks you to study. This year’s theme of an Entangled World really opens eyes and makes you look at the world differently whilst raising more questions. And it is from here that this development of natural curiosity will continue to grow and hopefully be sustained throughout our lives.”