Good use of time crucial in debates

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 May, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 May, 2000, 12:00am

Making good use of time to deliver and develop arguments was crucial in a debate, according to a former best debater and judge in the 24th Joint School Debate Competition.

Ada Ho was a best debater in the same competition and captain of the Heep Yunn School team from 1990 to 1991.

Ms Ho was invited to judge students' performance and give advice at the contest held at Hong Kong International School.

Ms Ho said she was happy to see that students debated well and provided reasonable arguments, facts and evidence.

However, she said some competitors only stated points but failed to organise the material, which had weakened their arguments.

'It's crucial for debaters to manage their time well in delivering their points. If they fail to do that, they won't be able to convince the audience even if they have outstanding ideas to refute the opposite side's arguments.' She also suggested debaters make more use of emotive appeals to enhance their persuasiveness and capture the audience's attention.

'A debate is not public speaking. Debaters should work with each other, not just read their points out separately,' she said.

Another adjudicator Marian Hughes, from the British Council also praised students' perfor mance in the debate.

'The motion was quite difficult for students to debate. I personally support the motion. But the opposing team's good time management and their sound and reasonable arguments persuaded me to give them high marks,' she said.

The motion for the final debate was whether Third World debt should be cancelled.

Hong Kong International School students were on the af firmative side; Island School students on the opposing side.

Ms Hughes said if students wanted to perform well in a debate, they should practise and rehearse more.

She said she very much supported students, especially local ones, joining competitions like this, because it was good practice for improving their spoken English skills and getting a better command of the language.

Students from the two schools debated the motion in one-and-a-half hours.

Members of the team each took turns to stand on stage to present their points and argue with the opposing side.

The Joint School Debate Competition was organised by the Hong Kong Joint School Debating Society formed by secondary students from local and international schools.

This year, the format of the competition had two phases, the first phase was the Group Stage, where schools were divided into four or three groups.

The two schools winning the most number of debates in their groups go through to the second phase.

Debating Society chairman Craig Young said the motion was challenging for students. Mr Young said he was happy that students did a very good job researching and collecting materials.

They performed well in the debate and entertained the audience with their battle of words, he said.

RESULTS Champion: Island School Best Speaker: Kandice Chiu of the Island School


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