International Debating Victory
The Debating Team: Ebony, Grace, Jemma, Callum, Jarrod, Ben, Liam, Kara, Cole and Reshma (Absent Jessica)
Hurray We Won!
During the past weeks, some of the grade six LEEP students had been participating in an international debate called the Eracsim Debate, organised by the Flat Classroom Projects. The debate topic was “Governments requiring immigrants to adopt the beliefs, habits and languages of the dominant culture does more harm than good”.
Each speaker was given 5-7 minutes of opening their statements and presenting their points. Then, the other team was given 3-4 minutes of time to rebut the opposition’s arguments before opening their case for another 5-7 minutes. The debate was international, making it hard to do live because of the time differences, so it was asynchronous. We used a web 2.0 tool called VoiceThread but responded to each speaker as if it was live.
Our school had 2 teams entered into the debate. In the first round, we had one team being the proposition team, and an opposition team. The proposition team had had it easy, for the school (which was Maplewood) had forfeited, leading them to go straight into the semi-finals. The other team had played against SMS Palumbo in Italy (who were not native English speakers, making it hard to understand due to their accents), however they had not made it through to the next round.
In the semi-finals, our school had been the proposition team, debating against Midpark High. In the end, the judges selected the Berwick Lodge team to go into the grand final. The opposition team who had lost in the first round had another debate for a consolation match against Phoenix School, but still, the judges had chosen the other team to go through.
In the grand final, Berwick Lodge was up against Van Avery Prep school in California. Because this was the grand final, the debate had to be live. We had to come early to school because they were 15 hours behind us. We arrived at 8 am and got ready for our last debate. The programme we used was Blackboard Collaborate. It was a very nerve-racking debate, because we all hoped that we would win. Once the debate had finished, the judges had quite a while to finalise who had won and who had come runners-up. During the time for the judges to make their minds up, Berwick Lodge and Van Avery had a moment to ask questions, whether they be about debating, or just simple questions. One person from Van Avery had a very amusing comment, “I like your accent and by the way, what do you eat for breakfast?”. We all had a crack up when she had said that, and we all took turns to say what we ate for breakfast.
After a long wait, about 30 minutes, the judges had finally chosen who would win. All along the judges had said it was a very close debate. However, the long hours of working and staring at a computer screen had come with an award… Winning the 2012 Eracism debating project!
Everyone had done a great job during the debate, working together to formulate the arguments even if they didn’t make it through to the finals. The people involved in this debate were: Ebony 6K, Grace 6N, Ben 6P, Jemma 6N, Reshma 6P, Liam 6K, Jessica 6P, Kara 6N, Jarrod 6N, Callum 6K, Cole 6P.
Report by Grace 6N.