Foundations of Debating – Online

  • Beginner
  • 4 Days
  • Years 7 - 9

A four day program which places the focus on learning the fundamental skills necessary to flourish in high school debating.

Student to Teacher Ratio 8:1
Course Objectives
  • Provide students with the foundations of policy debates, with a particular focus on case structure, arguments and rebuttal.

  • Give students the opportunity to participate in a range of debates on different topics.

  • Allow students to practice multiple times a day, and receive plenty of individual feedback.

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Location Online Program

28th September

29th September

30th September

1st October


9:30AM - 1:00PM


4 Days



Course Overview

Increasingly, debating is taking on a leading roll in secondary education, both as a co-curriculum and as an assessment style.  Whilst often viewed as a competitive activity – which it inherently is from certain perspectives – it is also a great source of personal development, whether it be through stronger critical thinking skills, improved responsiveness when challenged, or increased resilience in the face of adversity.

Our Foundations of Debating Online program provides students with all the tools they need when starting out in the world of debating. Covering everything from case development to debate prep to rebuttal fundamentals, this workshop lays down the groundwork for tomorrow’s champion debater using a combination of necessary theory with a range of practice debates.

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.

Using a combination of small classes, a supportive environment, and our enthusiastic team of coaches, this program is perfect for early high school students looking to see what debating is all about.

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 Foundations of Debating Online 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 alike who are 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 Foundations of Debating program.

Students who have completed our Birds debating programs – whether they be our Debating Hummingbirds or Debating Hawks holiday programs, or Debating Parrots or Debating Pelicans term programs – should progress straight to our Experienced Debating program.  However, students who have just done our Birds public speaking programs are recommended to learn the fundamentals in our Foundations of Debating program.

If your child has some formal debating coaching and you’re not sure whether the Foundations of Debating or Experienced Debating 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 fundamental rules and concepts associated with debating;
  • know how to develop arguments and prepare a case as a team for policy style debates;
  • have been exposed to common argumentation and rebuttal methods; and
  • have participated in a range of practice debates using topics derived from actual inter school 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 Foundations of Debating 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.

Our classes vary in size every workshop depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Foundations of Debating 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
  • hopefully a more enthusiastic approach to debating, and presentations more generally!

Whilst we do try to keep classes relatively small, we are only able to run classes where 4 or more registrations have been received.

Course Reviews

Our daughter thoroughly enjoyed the course and advised that she would love to attend another course in the future. She said it was a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and couldn’t speak highly enough of her teacher.

After completing the course she has a much better understanding of debating, feels confident and is looking forward to competing next term.

Joelle, Parent Foundations of Debating

Took a reluctant attendee into an engaged participant - well done!!!

Rohan, Parent Foundations of Debating
  • Of the parents we've surveyed about our online programs...

  • 100%

    Felt their child had fun

  • 100%

    Believed their child's confidence improved

  • 100%

    Thought their child's speech structure improved

  • 92%

    Said their child's manner improved