Debating Wallabies

  • Beginner
  • Weeks
  • Years 3 - 4

Debating Wallabies is a great way for a beginner student to take their first steps into the world of non-policy debating!

Student to Teacher Ratio 8:1
Course Objectives
  • Give students an introduction to the basic concepts of non-policy debating, including cases, point structure and rebuttal.

  • Provide students the opportunity to participate in a range of debates on different topics across the term.

  • Allow students to practice their skills and receive feedback to help develop their speaking skills.

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Register your interest for our upcoming Term programs.

Course Overview

Bookings for Term #4 are now closed. Register your interest for Term #1, 2022!

All in-person programs will run online whilst the NSW lockdown continues, and we aim to resume classes once we have clear information from the NSW Government. 


Debating Wallabies is an excellent way for beginner students to take their first steps into the world of debating!

Debating is a unique skill that involves preparing cases as a team, developing robust arguments, thinking quickly on your feet and learning to refute others’ points. As part of this program, students will be introduced to several of the fundamental skills and principles of debating, and will also regularly put what they have learned in practice in-class debates.

Whilst Debating Wallabies always covers the basics concepts involved in value debating – cases, arguments and rebuttal – the focus of the program changes every term:

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

Whilst it’s recommended that students give each of these streams a try, there is no particular need to start with any of them, meaning students are welcome to join at any time!

As with all our programs, we make sure that every classroom environment is nurturing for each individual, and that all the activities are lots of fun for all students! This is the perfect course for both shy and outgoing students to begin their journey into the exciting (and initially potentially nerve-wracking) world of debating.

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 oppositions arguments, whilst bolstering their own. This steam is an absolute must for any budding debater.

During the upcoming term, we will be offering all our weekly programs online while the NSW Government Lockdown continues.

For the most part, there is very little that separates our online and physical programs – both are interactive, cover the same theoretical concepts, and give students a range of opportunities to practice and develop their skills. Whilst some activities are different between the two, as some activities lend themselves better to physical or online classes, the actual learning outcomes remain the same for both classes.

Notably, the difference in price isn’t an indication of the quality of the program, or how much students will get out of the experience – both get the same amount of attention and care, and we’ve found some students develop better in an online environment.  The deviation instead is simply a result of the higher costs (such as venue hire) associated with running classes in-person.

Whilst children appear to not be at particularly high risk from COVID-19, SSA places their safety (and the safety of our coaches) as our highest priority.  This emphasis on safety is the first tier of our teaching policy.

We generally consider the risk of transmission at our programs to be very unlikely.  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 and transmit the virus at lower rates.
  2. Local transmission rates are currently 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 reviewed continuously for best practice, and seek to keep students as safe as possible.

We have prepared our COVID-19 Action Plan, which outlines the three methods 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 we instruct all parents not to 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 – we have adopted hand and surface cleaning regimens to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, we will also be continuing to offer online programs for the foreseeable future. This will 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!

Our Debating Wallabies course is a beginner level program.

This course assumes no particular knowledge – students are more than welcome to join the program with little (or even no) debating experience.  Everyone has to start somewhere, and there is no better time than the present.

Noting this, the program is also appropriate for students who have already completed our Speaking Camp Koalas or Speaking Camp Kangaroos holiday programs – the Debating Wallabies course looks at debating skills, which are very different to the public speaking skills (and much more in-depth than the debating skills) covered in both the holiday programs.  Rather than moving straight to the more advanced programs, we would recommend they hone their skills here first.

In addition, this program is also appropriate for students who have previously completed our Public Speaking Wallabies term program – debating and public speaking are different presentation styles, and whilst either will help develop confidence, students will definitely get plenty out of doing both programs.

Finally, whilst Debating Wallabies always covers the basics concepts involved in debating, it is recommended that students give each of our focuses a try 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.

That said, if your child already has formal debating training from another provider, or has finished multiple streams of our Debating Wallabies program, they may get more out of our more advanced Debating Wombats program – please get in touch if you’d like to discuss what’s 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;
  • 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.

Fostering a Nurturing Class Environment

At the beginning of each Debating program, the coach seeks to facilitate a welcoming class environment and ensures that all students across the elemental rules and concepts involved in debating – in short, that everyone feels accepted and up to speed, regardless of their experience. The early sessions also involve a range of speaking activities that help students develop their fundamental debating skills.

Cases + Speaker Roles

Over the course of the term, students will cover the essentials of case theory, and delve into how each speaker role functions. Placing a particular focus on first and second speakers, students are taken through a range of strategies on how to work together as a team to present the most persuasive case possible.

Students will also cover the other two essential concepts – argumentation and rebuttal – and how best to integrate both into their cases.


Speaking Manner

As the term progresses and students become more comfortable, they will spend a couple of sessions looking at their verbal and physical manner, and how this can influence their audience. This is coupled with a range of activities to help students get the most out of their speaking manner sessions.


Practice Debates

In addition to all the theory, students will have the opportunity to participate in multiple practice debates during the term (and almost every week as the term progresses).  Each debate will be on a different topic, and students will have the opportunity to speak in various roles across the term.


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!

Our classes vary in size every workshop depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Debating Wallabies 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:

  • 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 throughout the program;
  • the speech that they prepared for their final presentations; and
  • hopefully a better understanding of how value-based debating functions!
Course Reviews

The course is excellent for kids to build up confidence and skills to speak in front of public, my 8 year old kid gains a lot of benefits from this course, he'll definitely continue this course next year.

Eddy, Parent

Under the circumstances with Coronavirus, I feel that the staff handled the situation very well. They kept me informed about measures put into place to safe guard and keep students at Burwood Campus safe.

The program is very well structured and delivered effectively for my twins to build on their Debating Skills. Zoom lessons were very well organized and with no drawbacks.

Thank you all for your great work with all the students!

Connie T, Parent Debating Wallabies
  • After our Term #4 programs...

  • 100%

    of Year 3 - 4 students surveyed enjoyed attending the programs

  • 100%

    of Year 3 - 4 students surveyed felt more confident

  • 88%

    of Year 3 - 4 students surveyed saw their speaking manner significantly improve

  • 88%

    of Year 3 - 4 students surveyed really wanted to come back again next time