The 5th IDEA International Aitmatov Debate Academy

We want to ensure the quality of our debate programmes. We can by providing extensive training in how to debate for many different groups. We have modules that include training in debate, interactive teaching methodologies, public communications, advocacy and conflict resolution, new media and debate.

Most of our training sessions are designed for groups of 25 or fewer. Ideal candidates include secondary school and university teachers, students, youth workers and representatives of non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations.

We encourage a learning environment that is built on participation, where individuals feel safe to explore ideas and view topics from a variety of perspectives. Participant-centered teaching methodologies emphasising personal exploration, role-play and group exercises are employed to maximize trainees’ involvement in the learning process; it leads to more meaningful engagement.

Our methodology is based on Action Learning – a bottom up approach that draws on the knowledge in the room. It is designed for engaging young people who are new to debate from as young as 14 and up to 30 years old and allows them to take ownership of their learning process. Trainees learn how to extract the knowledge in the room and how to channel it. This creates a healthy group dynamic and empowers youth to address the issues they are interested in and understand.

We train trainers to use what young people know (the knowledge in the room) and then help them improve in how to say it’ – IDEA trainer.

IDEA’s trainers come from, and train, different societal groups: debate societies, youth centres, educational organisations, schools or universities. They can be students, youth and welfare workers or teachers, and are IDEA’s link to young people because they know and trust them.

Participants on IDEA training holding the IDEA logo

When working with disadvantaged youth, the element of trust is very important. Before they are ready to talk about the issues they have, they must first feel confident and safe in their environment and be able to reflect on why they have the problem.’ – IDEA trainer.     

IDEA trainers pay special attention to ensuring that training is adapted specifically to meet the linguistic, educational and cultural needs of the participants. Whenever possible, IDEA strives to deliver the training in the local language of the trainees, using materials and modules most relevant to the participants. There is no one size fits all. The programme includes exercises and activities that trainers can adapt and tailor to meet the needs of the group. From a 1-day training workshop up to trainings over several days, the debate activities and exercises are all easily adaptable to their own trainees’ level of knowledge and confidence. In each case, trainers get ideas and learn new debate skills that they can use based on their own personal experiences.

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