Methodist remains unbeaten

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 May, 2009, 12:00am

Methodist College beat Shek Lei Catholic Secondary School in the third round of the Nesta-SCMP Inter-School Debating Competition last Wednesday.

The motion was: Hong Kong secondary schools should be allowed to choose their medium of instruction.

Shek Li supported the motion.

Methodist College, which argued against the motion, won the debate to stay undefeated through the first three rounds of the competition.

Jim Kapernaros, a native English teacher at Lions College, was the adjudicator.

'I sensed nervousness in the participants as I know there are some first-time debaters on both sides but I think with more experience this will not be a problem,' he said.

'I decided to give the negative side [Methodist College] the edge because they performed more confidently with better structured speeches. They were also able to make good use of a wide range of vocabulary which was great.

'The affirmative side had done a nice job addressing the key issues in the debate and I was exceptionally impressed with their point about giving teachers and students flexibility to choose the medium of instruction.

'Time management is something that they have to work on since some of the speakers were not able to deliver their entire speech on time and had to rush towards the end.'

John Tang Siu-kei, one of the debaters from Methodist College, said the motion was very relevant to students and teachers. But he said it was a tough topic to argue against.

'Through our research we found that parents, the public and media are mostly supportive of schools having the freedom to choose the medium of instruction so from the very beginning it was an uphill battle for us,' John said.

'There were no facts to support our motion and we had to build our motion on assumptions. We assumed that learning English is important to Hong Kong students and made use of the point that students' benefits should be the top priority when discussing if schools should choose their own medium of instruction. These are the two strong points which helped us win.'

John's teammate, Janet Ma Wai-yan, said the debate has boosted their confidence for the next round.

Methodist College coach Tara Coleman, said: 'I know it is a tough time for them to prepare for the debate since it is nearing exams but they were still able to get the job done.

'On the downside, I felt that they were a little out of rhythm at the beginning and could have done better with the rebuttals.'