Debating Hummingbirds – Online

  • Beginner
  • 4 Days
  • Years 5 - 6

A four day introductory course (set over eight sessions) for students with no experience in debating who want to see what it is all about. A great way to ease students in and provides a solid foundation to build upon.

Student to Teacher Ratio 8:1
Course Objectives
  • Give students an introduction to the basic concepts of policy debates, with a particular focus on cases, point structure and rebuttal.

  • Provide students the opportunity to participate in various debates on different topics.

  • Allow students  to practice their skills and receive plenty of feedback to help them develop. 

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Location Online Program

28th September

29th September

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9:30AM - 1:00PM


4 Days



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Location Online Program

6th October

7th October

8th October

9th October


9:30AM - 1:00PM


4 Days



Course Overview

Debating is often a competitive activity – both conceptually, as it involves two teams competing against one another, and more generally because of its popularity, as there are often limited spaces available for students to join their school team.

This course offers students a head-start on their peers by introducing them to the necessary skills and strategies involved with debating.  Placing a focus on the fundamentals of teamwork, case development, argument structure and rebuttal, students are given a leg up in any disagreement – peer and parent alike – and are given the tools and experience necessary to flourish as a novice debater.

As with all our online programs, class sizes are kept small (a maximum of 8) so that each student can be provided with maximum support and attention, including plenty of individualised feedback from our experienced coaches.

We genuinely believe that whilst our online programs look and feel a little different, they are just as effective in helping students develop their speaking abilities.

Unlike most providers, we run all our online programs live in small classes – nothing is pre-recorded, and everything happens in real time. This means that coaches are able to adapt their teaching style to the class that they actually have, leading to the best possible learning outcomes for students.

Students are also given just as many opportunities to practice in front of an audience – whilst not physically present, students can still see all their peers’ faces on the computer screen, providing them with an audience that feels (and is) very real.  This means that students are still able to apply the theory they learn, develop their confidence, and crucially receive indvidualised feedback in real time.

If you’re still not sure, check out our video on online programs or get in touch to learn more!

All of our online intensive programs run for eight sessions over four days, with each session being 1.5 hours long, and a good half an hour break between the two sessions.

So, for example, if the program was scheduled for 9:30am to 1:00pm each day, the first session that day would be from 9:30am to 11:00am, with a half an hour break before the second session between 11:30am and 1:00pm.

Students won’t be starting at the screen all day either – they will get a short break in the middle of each session, and will be encouraged to prepare their practice speeches (at least one every session) on paper, as they would in a physical classroom setting.

Our Debating Hummingbirds workshop is a beginner level program.

The course is intended for students with minimal debating experience, and is recommended for both shy and confident students looking to cover the fundamentals of debating.  There is also no need for students to have public speaking experience – there is no assumed knowledge for the Debating Hummingbirds program.

We generally recommend that all students start off their debating with our Debating Hummingbirds program unless:

We generally recommend that all students who completed the Debating Wallabies programs in Year 3 – 4 to still give our Debating Hummingbirds a go first – they focus on substantially different styles of debating, and students would likely feel lost if they went straight through to the experienced program.

That said, if your child does meet either of the two criteria above, we would recommend that they move straight onto the Debating Hawks program.

If your child has some formal debating coaching and you’re not sure whether the beginner Hummingbirds or experienced Debating Hawks program would suit them best, please get in touch and we’d be more than happy to discuss which is best for your child!

At the end of this programs, students should:

  • understand the basic rules and speaking roles involved in debating;
  • have developed an understanding of how to brainstorm arguments and develop a case as a team for policy debates;
  • know the best strategies to use when delivering arguments and giving rebuttal; and
  • have engaged in various activities and practice debates using topics derived from actual interschool debating competitions.

A Nurturing Class Environment

During the first session of the program, the coach will spend a substantial amount of time helping students feel comfortable within the class enrivonment, as well as ensuring that all students are across the rules of debating.  These early sessions will also involve students presenting multiple times, with the view to helping them develop their practical debating skills early on.


Case Structure

Students will spend at least two sessions looking at case structure.  Cases are crucial in debating – without a coherant case that all team members agree on, it becomes very difficult to persuade the adjudicator of anything.

Our Debating Hummingbirds Online program places the focus on ‘Policy’ style debates, which involves a relatively complex case structure – students will learn during the program how to properly plot out and explain these cases.


Arguments & Rebuttal

Students will spend at least one session looking at argumentation, and another at rebuttal.  These are two fundamental skills in debating – one involves building up your team’s case, and the other pulling your opponents’ case down.

Students are also given scaffolds and plenty of opportunities to practice these skills across the term.


Practice Debates

In addition to all the theory, students will have the opportunity to participate in multiple practice debates during the term.  Each debate will be on a different policy topic, and students will have the opportunity to speak in different rolls each time.


Final Presentations

On the fourth day, students will prepare and deliver their final debate for the class, and parents are invited to sit in and watch. This is a great opportunity for students to present to a fuller audience, which not only helps them develop their confidence, but also represents an opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned.

Our classes vary in size every workshop depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Debating Hummingbirds Online class is around eight students with one coach.

If there aren’t any spots left, it’s usually because we’ve hit capacity – please get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do about either opening an extra class, fitting your child into the existing class, or putting you on a waitlist in case any students pull out!

By the end of each program, students will have:

  • typed feedback, prepared individually for them by their coach, which goes through what they’ve improved on, and what still needs some work;
  • a digital certificate recognising their achievements;
  • a digital course booklet (that can be printed), which covers everything they’ve learned over the course of the program;
  • the speech that they prepared for their final presentations; and
  • a much better conceptualisation of what debating involves!
Course Reviews

Siddharth was very happy with the 4 day online workshops and he is very disappointed that it ended yesterday. It was immensely enjoyable and a great experience for him.

The teacher Anna was fantastic, very kind and supportive and my son felt she was very motivating. The online programs are such a bliss for us as we stay far away and would never be able to attend a face to face program. Please continue this online program even when the situation stabilises as it will encourage so many kids to pursue their passion for debating.

Hats off to you :)

Priya, Parent Debating Hummingbirds - Online

My kids enjoyed this program. They said it was so good and they looked forward to it every day.

Excellent transition to online!

Nancy, Parent Debating Hummingbirds - Online
  • After our Online April 2020 Holiday Programs...

  • 100%

    Year 5 - 6 students who had fun

  • 100%

    Year 5 - 6 students who felt their confidence improved

  • 100%

    Year 5 - 6 students who believed their manner improved

  • 92%

    Year 5 - 6 students who want to come back next time