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Debating Wombats

  • Experienced
  • 10 Weeks
  • Years 3 - 4

A debating program that builds on the concepts covered in Debating Wallabies, and introduces students to more complex policy based topics and case structures.

Student to Teacher Ratio 8:1
Course Objectives
  • Help students further develop their understanding of debating, placing a particular focus on policy-based topics.

  • Provide students with an in depth understanding on a range of debating concepts, from argumentation to rebuttal.

  • Give students a range of opportunities to participate in practice debates and receive individualised feedback.

View Our Coaches

Registrations Close 27 October!

Location Online Program
Day

Tuesday

Time

4:30PM - 6:30PM

Dates

5th October - 7th December

Length

10 Weeks

Price

$420

Registrations Close 28 October!

Location Online Program
Day

Wednesday

Time

4:30PM - 6:30PM

Dates

6th October - 8th December

Length

10 Weeks

Price

$420

Course Overview

Bookings for Term #4 are now open!

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 can be difficult regardless of age – but it can be particularly challenging for younger students.

Our Debating Wombats program builds on the foundations laid in Debating Wallabies, not only by helping students deepen their understanding of central concepts like argumentation and rebuttal, but also by introducing them to policy-based topics in an online setting.  Rather than asking students to prove that something is already true about the world (which is the focus of value-based topics), policy-based debates require students to debate whether the world should be changed in some way.

Debating Wombats helps students understand how to develop these policy-based cases and so much more, and provides them with plenty of opportunities to practice their newfound skills in debates on a range of topics.

Whilst Debating Wombats always covers the basics concepts involved in policy 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 weekly 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.

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.

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 Wombats course is an experienced level program.

Designed for students with formal coaching in debating, we recommend that students only enrol if they have:

  • completed at least one (but ideally multiple) terms of our Debating Wallabies program;
  • previously participated in one or more of our Debating Wombats programs, and want to improve some other debating skills;
  • received plenty of formal training with another provider; or
  • attended a school with a comprehensive debating training program, and competed in a number of interschool debates.

Importantly, debating and public speaking are very different skills – attending a public speaking program with us, or participating in a public speaking program at school, doesn’t really prepare students for this program – they would be better off giving out Debating Wallabies program a try.

In addition, whilst our Speaking Camp Koalas and Speaking Camp Kangaroos holiday programs do cover some debating skills, this is taught in the context of public speaking more generally, and would not normally be sufficient for them to be able to properly participate in our Debating Wombats program – these students would also likely be better off giving out Debating Wallabies program a go.

If you’re not sure whether your child would be better suited for our Debating Wallabies or Debating Wombats program, please get in touch and we would be more than happy to discuss it with you!

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!

 

Our classes vary in size every course depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Debating Wombats 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
  • a better understanding of debating and policy-based topics!
Course Reviews

The girls loved the camp and came away saying how much they enjoyed the activities. We’ll be back next term.

Frankie and Charley, Parents Speaking Camp Kangaroos

My daughter said she really enjoyed the program and would like to attend EVERY time. I think it must be an amazing program.

Crystal, Parent Speaking Camp Kangaroos
  • 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