Camp teaches debating the British way
A SERIES OF workshops and a debating competion have been organised to promote British Parliamentary (BP) debate among secondary students.
Organised by the Hong Kong Parliamentary Debating Society (HKPDS), the week-long training camp began on Monday at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
More than 70 students from 29 schools are taking part.
The camp was established last year by English-language debaters from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and CUHK.
The competition final will be held at 3pm tomorrow at the PolyU's Chiang Chen Studio Theatre.
While the Hong Kong-style debate consists of two sides of three or four members, the BP debate consists of four teams of two speakers - the Opening Government (Opening Affirmative), Opening Opposition, Closing Government and Closing Opposition.
Each speaker has to deliver a speech of up to seven minutes. During each speech, opposing debaters can interrupt with 'points of information', a statement of fact or a question for the current speaker.
'This format of debating provokes participants' critical thinking,' said HKPDS' publicity officer Jennifer Chung, who is a freshman at HKU.
'As the motion is only given 15 minutes before the start of the debate, debaters don't have time to do research.
'To do well in BP debates, you need to do research constantly and keep abreast of current affairs and global issues.
'With little time for preparation, it also prevents debaters from writing the speeches and reading them out. It helps them develop spontaneity and fluency in public speaking.'
Over the past few days, the camp participants have attended workshops on the rules of the
BP debate, case building, adjudication, research and public speaking. There have also been practice debates.
Tomorrow's grand final will be judged by members of the British Parliament, Nigel Evans of the Conservative Party and Paul Keetch of the Liberal Democrats. They will give a talk to the students tonight.
'The purpose of the summer camp is to promote the BP format among secondary schools,' said Ms Chung.
For more information, visit www.hkpds.org