Debating Parrots

Debating Parrots

  • Mixed Experience
  • Weeks
  • Years 5 - 7

Debating Parrots is the ideal course for students who are looking to lock in the fundamental skills of debating.

Student to Teacher Ratio 9:1
Course Objectives
  • Give students an introduction to the basic concepts of policy debating, including cases, point structure and rebuttal.

  • Provide students with a range of opportunities to participate in practice debates.

  • Allow students to build their confidence and practice their skills over the course of the term.

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Course Overview

Bookings are closed for Term #2!

Please register your interest here to be the first to hear about Term #3. 

Merged with our former Debating Pelicans program.

Please note there will be no classes on Monday, 10 June 2024, for the King’s Birthday Public Holiday. This has already been accounted for in the prices. 


Key Features

  • Runs over 1.5- or 2-hour weekly sessions, depending on venue
  • Designed for mixed-experience Year 5 – 7 students
  • Takes students through the essential skills to help them understand this integral co-curricular activity
  • Helps students build confidence through learning key debating skills, such as cases, rebuttal, argumentation and persuasion
  • Provides students with plenty of opportunities to practice their newfound skills in a range of debates
  • Follows a similar structure each week – students begin with an activity, run through a new element of content and consolidate with practical speaking tasks
  • High priority is placed on a supportive and nurturing learning environment
  • Small classes to ensure everyone can practice and receive plenty of feedback


Term Focuses

Whilst Debating Parrots always covers the fundamental concepts involved in policy debating, the focus of the program changes every term, with the following emphases for 2024:

  • Term #1 looks at how to develop Policy Cases as a team;
  • Term #2 focuses on the various Debate Roles that speakers play;
  • Term #3 goes beyond just policy debating, and emphasises Understanding Topics; and
  • Term #4 focuses on Practical Points and making stronger arguments.

While it’s recommended that students try each of these focuses, and the emphases change each year, there is no particular need to start with any of them, meaning students are welcome to join at any time!


More Information

Debates are determined by the collective effort of teams, rather than individual contributions, with every speaker playing a unique role crucial for their team’s success in crossing the finish line.

In our Debate Roles module, students delve into each of the key speakers – first, second, and third – for both the affirmative and negative positions in debates. Each role is dissected to aid students in grasping not just the speaker’s responsibilities but also why those strategies are deemed persuasive for an adjudicator.

These concepts are then linked to various speaking activities and debates, supplemented by ample personalised feedback. This approach is designed to assist individuals in applying these ideas effectively.

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

  • acquire a variety of fundamental concepts and principles and understand their connection to each speaker’s role in a debate;
  • gain lots of exposure to speaking activities, which will help them build confidence and develop good speaking habits and techniques; and
  • practice their budding skills in a supportive environment, alongside peers of a similar age and ability level.

Our Debating Parrots program is a mixed-level class for students in Years 5 – 7 designed for students starting out in the world of public speaking as well as those with some speaking experience.

Debating Parrots caters for:

  • Students who have no (or little) debating experience and/or no (or little) public speaking experience;
  • All students in Year 5 who are interested in learning debating (as the intermediate Debating Pandas program only accepts students from Year 6 onwards);
  • Students who have already completed one or more terms of Debating Parrots, but aren’t ready to move up to Debating Pandas (the focus changes every term, students can continue the program across Years 5 – 7 with no repetition);
  • Students who have done one or more terms of Debating Wallabies, which looks at different types of topics (and so builds a different, if complementary, set of debating skills); and
  • Students who have public speaking, but no debating experience (such as completing Public Speaking Penguins, Public Speaking Wombats or Speaking Camp Kangaroos).

We usually recommend that students do at least four terms of Debating Parrots, especially those in Year 5, before moving up to Debating Pandas to ensure that they cover all the essential concepts inherent to debating and feel comfortable with older students!

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss what’s best for your child!

Fostering a Nurturing Class Environment

Each program commences with the coach creating a welcoming class environment and ensuring that all students grasp the fundamental rules and concepts of debating – ensuring everyone, regardless of experience, is on the same page.

The initial sessions also incorporate various speaking activities to aid students in honing their debating skills.


The Core Speaker Roles

Over the course of the term, students will look into first, second and third speakers in turn, aiming to understand each position from both the affirmative and negative perspectives of a debate.

Using these roles as a framework, students will engage in crucial skills such as building cases, making arguments, and delivering rebuttals in a hands-on approach. This process aims to enhance their confidence in debating as a whole. These principles are reinforced with interactive tasks and constructive feedback, empowering students to apply their knowledge effectively for a more profound comprehension.


Practice Debates

Alongside theoretical learning, students will engage in various practice debates and speaking exercises throughout the term. Each debate will cover a distinct topic, allowing students to take on different roles and enhance their speaking skills.


Final Presentations

Each term ends with a presentation, either to peers or parents (depending on the venue). This is an excellent opportunity for students to showcase what they’ve learned over the course of the term and continue their confidence-building journey.

Students generally spend the last couple of sessions preparing and practising their speeches for the presentation.

As a mixed-experience program, our Debating Parrots program is designed to be completed multiple times – with a different focus every term, there’s always something new for students to take away from the program!

Alternatively, if your child wants to try public speaking, our Public Speaking Penguins program teaches students all the essential skills they need to become great public speakers!

Once they feel comfortable with debating, coaches may recommend students in Years 6 or 7 (but not students in Year 5) move up to the Intermediate Debating Pandas program, which will help more advanced students engage with more complex concepts alongside older and more experienced debaters.

However, if you’re looking for something during a school break, you may want to try one of our holiday workshops, such as Debating Hawks or Public Speaking Polar Bears (for Year 6 & 7 students), which builds on the skills learned during the term.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions, or get in touch using our contact form to learn more!

Course Reviews

My son joined the Debating Parrots program last term and it was an enlightening experience. He gained good knowledge on how to structure his debate and understand the rebuttal types. There was lots of practice and good constructive feedback provided to him by his Coach Alex. It was time well spent and Gurkiret always looked forward to the weekly sessions. He learnt and had fun along the way. Looking forward to the next term.

Debating Parrots
Rupinder, Parent Debating Parrots

My son enrolled for the first time and we are very happy with his progress even if it is was online session.

The review provided post first term is very helpful for improving his skills.

Debating Parrots
Amit, Parent Debating Parrots
  • Of the dozens of Parrots students surveyed in 2023...

  • 100%

    had fun!

  • 93%

    felt more confident!

  • 90%

    improved their speaking manner!

  • 90%

    wanted to come back next time!

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