Turing House

Think Aloud Critical Thinking and Debating

"Think Aloud" is a popular after-school club that provides a forum for students to develop their critical thinking skills. The aim of each session is to explore the topic fully, before each student comes to their own conclusion relating to what they have heard and contributed. In addition to improving their capacity to think critically, the children learn to listen to one another, and evaluate views which are different from their own. The club meets every Thursday 3.15-4.15pm during term-time and is led by Gabby Thomas, who works at St Mary with St Alban, a local church near Teddington Lock. Her background as a teaching associate in Theology at the University of Nottingham, alongside her passion to see young people flourish through education, means that she enjoys the sessions as much as the young people who attend. When she's not in school, she can be found out and about around Teddington or delivering theology lectures.

Discussion topics

In our first year we tackled the following topics

  • Cosmetic surgery should be banned
  • Every child should have a mobile phone
  • Religion does more harm than good
  • School uniform should be banned from schools
  • Prisoners should have the right to vote
  • Faith schools should not exist
  • Mothers should stay at home and look after their children
  • Animals should have rights
  • Buying clothes from the third world cheaply is justified

This year we will be debating the following controversial areas.

  • People should pass exams before they are allowed to have children
  • Nurses should be paid more than footballers
  • Animals should have rights
  • Sperm Donors should be anonymous
  • It is right for the government to restrict freedom of speech
  • Unemployment benefits should be banned
  • Religion is harmful
  • Grades should be abolished
  • Policeman should be armed
  • marriage to more than one person should be legal
  • Boxing should be banned
  • "Big Boys Don't Cry"
  • Free Choice
What the students think

Our students have really developed since we have begun working with Gabby and her team on this project. Here are some of their opinions:


“debating club is a fun, enjoyable environment for anybody. You learn to argue for your point of view and understand others’ views. I have come since the start and find it awesome.”


“It’s full of controversial topics that make the students who participate think outside of the box.”


“Everyone has a right to express their views and learns to respect others’ views. We learn something new every week.”


“I enjoy expressing my ideas. It is also an opportunity to socialize and make new friends. Topics are new each week so it is exciting.”


" it means I am not home bored waiting for my parents. I make friends and Gabby is an excellent giver of knowledge. I learn a lot "

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