Debating Novitiates

  • Beginner
  • 10 Weeks
  • Years 7 - 9

Debating Novitiates is the ideal course for high school students who are new to debating and would like to develop the fundamental skills necessary to flourish in high school debating. The program focuses on policy debates, among other types over a ten week period.

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 multiple practice opportunities, and receive plenty of individual feedback.

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Location Bondi Campus
Day

Monday

Time

4:00PM - 6:00PM

Dates

20th July - 21st September

Length

1 Weeks

Price

$650

Course Overview

Debating is a great source of personal development at a high school level. It helps the student develop essential critical thinking skills,  improve responsiveness when challenged and increase resilience in the face of adversity. Debating is taking on a leading role in secondary education, both as a co-curriculum activity and as an assessment style.  The ability to make well reasoned arguments and question evidence behind a particular stance, holds in good stead both personally and later on professionally.

Our Debating Novitiates 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 course 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 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.

There are lots of difficult concepts to learn in debating, but the most difficult skill to put into practice for most students would have to be rebuttal. It isn’t hard to understand why – rebuttal is difficult to prepare during prep time, and requires students to think of responses to often unpredictable arguments without time to give them proper thought.

But this is also why it is such an important skill for students to develop – not only for debating, but also for life more generally.

Our rebuttal stream places the focus squarely on this skill – students look at cases and arguments more critically, before taking the time to formulate strategies they can use to both bring down their opposition’s arguments, whilst bolstering their own. This steam is an absolute must for any budding debater.

Our Debating Novitiates 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 debating experience – there is no assumed knowledge for the Debating Novitiates program.

Students who have completed our Debating Hawks holiday programs, or Debating Parrots or Debating Pelicans term programs – should progress straight to our Experienced Debating (holiday) or Practice Debates (term) program. However, students who have just done our Debating Hummingbirds or Foundations of Debating or public speaking programs are recommended to learn the fundamentals in Debating Novitiates program.

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

Over the course of the term, students will have the opportunity to:

  • learn a range of introductory concepts and principles focusing on the essential elements of debating, placing a particular emphasis on rebuttal strategies;
  • deploy what they have learned in at least three in-class debates across the term;
  • practice different speaking roles and argue from both affirmative and negative sides of a debate; and
  • learn how to work effectively in a team environment!

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 environment, 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 & Argumentation

In order to effectively rebut, students first need to understand how to construct cases an arguments – this makes them easier to both tear down (for their opposition) and defend (for their own team). Students will spend at least two sessions critically looking at these concepts before moving onto how to rebut them.

 

Rebuttal

Students will spend multiple sessions looking at rebuttal.  These sessions will focus on how rebuttal can be used to bring down your opposition or defend your own case, and will involve a range of activities to help students not only understand the concepts, but be able to put them into practice as well.

 

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.

 

Parent Presentations

As with all our weekly programs, the term concludes with a presentation to the students’ parents.  This is a great way to help them develop the confidence to speak directly to adults, as well as being a good opportunity for them to showcase their new skills.

For physical classes, we’ll make an assessment closer to the end of the term as to whether we can run presentations in person – if government restrictions still prevent parents from entering the classrooms, we’ll either film their presentations, or alternatively livestream them for parents to watch from home!

By the end of each program, students will have:

  • a feedback sheet, prepared individually for them by their coach, which goes through what they’ve improved on, and what still needs some work;
  • a certificate recognising their achievements;
  • a course booklet that covers everything they’ve learned over the course of the program;
  • the speech that they prepared for their final presentations; and
  • a better understanding of how debating works from a practical perspective!

Our classes vary in size depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Debating Novitiates 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!

Debating Novitiates covers the basics concepts involved in policy debating. Each term however has a different focus to help students gain in-depth insight before progressing onto an experienced program. It is recommended that students complete each of our focuses before moving on to the next level:

  • Term #1 focuses on argumentation and making strong points;
  • Term #2 looks at how to best develop cases as a team;
  • Term #3 hones in on rebuttal, and how to best tackle your opponents; and
  • Term #4 emphasises speaking manner to help students better persuade their adjudicators.

There is no particular need to start with any of these streams, meaning students are welcome to join at any time.

Whilst children appear to not be at a particularly high risk, SSA places their safety (and the safety of our coaches) as our highest priority.  This is the first tier of our teaching policy.

We generally consider the risk of transmission at our programs to be extremely low.  This is for three reasons:

  1. From a general perspective, whilst children are not immune, they do show substantially milder symptoms than adults, and appear to catch the virus at lower rates.
  2. Local transmission rates, since the curve was flattened, are now very low, and the Government is acting very cautiously in removing restrictions – most people who catch the virus are quarantined, as are any known close contacts, which has significantly limited the spread of the virus.
  3. We have put in place a range of extra protections that are constantly reviewed for best practice, and seek to keep students as safe as possible.

We have prepared our COVID-19 Action Plan which outlines the three elements we are using to keep students safe.

Whilst you are very welcome to read the Action Plan in full, the three elements are:

  1. Symptom Testing – whilst parents are instructed to not send students displaying symptoms (or awaiting test results), we will be using temperature checks and coach training to ensure that any students who show symptoms are isolated and removed from programs;
  2. Limited Exposure – there are a range of steps in place to help ensure that students (and parents) socially distance, and limit the chance of spreading the virus; and
  3. Enhanced Sanitation – hand and surface cleaning regimens are being adopted to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, we will also be continuing to offer online programs for the foreseeable future, to help ensure that parents and students who are uncomfortable with physical classes have an alternative that allows them to feel safe, whilst still receiving a quality education in public speaking and debating.

Please check out our COVID-19 Action Plan here, or get in touch if you have any questions!

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 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