During Term 3, the very enthusiastic Woodleigh Debating teams have been extremely busy. Both the VCE Team (called B Grade) and the Junior one (called D Grade) progressed to the finals of the Debaters Association of Victoria’s school competitions. The VCE Team has performed exceptionally well and advanced to the Quarter Finals, completed early in Term 4. They also took part in the British Parliamentary Style Debates giving up a whole Sunday to practice their skills in a completely different debating style.
All the students deserve to be congratulated for their persistence and hard work. They should be especially commended for managing to train and compete entirely online.
Well done to Char P, Daniel A and Braeden V (our Junior group) and Gemma C, Alex M, Bridget R, Tealia H, Nikki S, Xander M and Morgan S (or senior debaters)
They are a fantastic bunch!
Head of Debating and Public Speaking
Understandably, the constant and repeating lockdowns have disrupted many extra-curricular activities. Having to change the plan every few weeks has been annoying. Luckily, though, debating is something that we can do online.
In a debate, two teams of three design and write opposing arguments to a topic. The winning team is decided by three factors: manner, matter, and method. Manner is judged on how well you present yourself. (Which is understandably hard online). The matter is judged on how persuasive and well-written your arguments are, and finally, method, which is judged on how well-structured and timed your arguments are.
This year, the Woodleigh D grade team (made up of Braeden V, Danny A and myself) won three of our four debates and made it to the knockout finals. That Danny and I are in Year 8, whilst most other teams are made up of Year 9s, made this especially exciting, although somewhat daunting.
Some of the topics we debated this year included “That animal testing should be banned”, “That public transport should be free”, and “That smokers should not have their medical treatments subsidised”. Each of these topics were very evenly matched and two-sided. They were really fun to argue, especially when we won.
Overall, debating has been a great activity and something I would do again anytime.
Char P Yr 8.
An online competition that began in our local area against schools like Peninsula Grammar, Toorak and Frankston High, but then spread to include the best of over 250 schools as we progressed into the finals series. After finishing our competition with a perfect win-loss record, we entered the finals, coming up against the best schools from over 20 regions in Victoria. Big names such as Haileybury, Scotch College, Geelong Grammar, Trinity, Mentone Girls, Melbourne High, Melbourne Grammar and Penleigh and Essendon Grammar, to name a few.
Our debates consist of one-hour preparation, secret topic – meaning we only have one hour to write an entire debate as a team, with a topic that we are only given an hour before. We have worked well as a team, engaging in multiple practice debates with the help of our coach Ms Pope and Mr Lawler and Mr Bolch.
Although debating has not come without its challenges, especially over zoom for a second year running, our team has been incredibly resilient and has risen to the occasion. Our finals topics have included “that large companies should be legally required to support grassroots community movements” and “that companies should have to publicly disclose the salaries of all staff”. We have beaten Scotch College and Penleigh and Essendon Grammar to make it to the Quarter Finals, which will be held early next term. This places us in the top 8 teams across the state in our division (Y11).
Huge thank you to Ms Pope for always helping us and making sure we have a practice debate organised, and congratulations to our team of Alex M, Bridget R, Gemma C, Nikki S and Tealia H.