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Inter School Debating

Inter-School Debating
On Thursday 19th March, Toolooa hosted the first of our inter school debating competitions. Our middle school students (years 9 and 10) competed against students from Tannum Sands and Gladstone State High in both prepared and impromptu debates.
Debating is a very precise form of communication and debaters must adhere to strict rules regarding manner, method and matter – these are the three areas upon which they are judged. Our students did a fantastic job given that competitive debating has not existed in our region for quite some time. Students have not seen a ‘real’ debate nor have they debated themselves and so their efforts are particularly impressive.
Our year 9 teams debated the topic ‘Reality TV should be banned’ with Tara Amine, Emily Robertson and Lachlan Christie making the case for the affirmative. Mikaylah Guidi, Amy Crook and Nick Versic made the case for the negative and, happily, both teams won their rounds.
Our year 10s debated ‘That Literacy and Numeracy should be the only things on the curriculum’ and, while neither team were successful, Michael Hudson, Atria Rezwan and Protim Mir delivered some very convincing arguments for the affirmative with Catherine O’Rourke, Matilda Moore and Emily Vogler putting up a good fight in favour of a balanced curriculum.
Tannum Sands won the trophy for the prepared debates with our Toolooa teams coming a very close second. We look forward to winning back that piece of silverware next year!
In the afternoon, students were given the particularly daunting task of preparing a debate to an unseen topic. Impromptu debating tests the teamwork skills of students as well as their ability to think on their feet and nut out an effective argument in a very short amount of time – one hour! No teacher input (or assistance from the mighty GOOGLE) was permitted. Our year 9s debated the topic ‘People should have to secure a licence before they are permitted to have a child’ and our 10s debated that ‘The death penalty should be enforced in Australia. After only one hour of preparation, all students produced very well-developed and thought provoking arguments and our year 9 teams were both successful. Despite some really high scores, our year 10s missed out to both Tannum and State.
In what is a true test of student debating ability, Toolooa won the trophy for impromptu debating, defeating Tannum in second place. Year 9 Toolooa student, Nick Versic, was the student who scored the highest points over the course of the day – a whopping 189 out of a possible 200.
Next term, our senior students (year 11 and 12) will pit their skills against those of the other two high schools. This time we will be competing at Tannum and we are hopeful our seniors will be just as successful as our middle school teams. Our year 11s will be debating that ‘University should be free’ while our year 12s will debate that ‘Feminism has failed’. Our junior students (years 7 and 8) will get their turn to debate in term 4 when we will compete at Gladstone State High School.
Congratulations to all students involved; it is so gratifying to see debating and public speaker back in our region.
Mrs Ellen Kean – Head of Department (English and LOTE)