Time to judge for themselves

Wong Yat-hei

Young debaters get an inside look at how to score points ahead of next year's big competition

Wong Yat-hei |

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140 students and teachers attended the debating workshop at the Mariners' Club in Tsim Sha Tsui.
In any competition, it always helps to know what the judges think. And the judges were happy to let the contestants know, at a special workshop attended by 140 students and teachers.

They took part in the Pre-13th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition Debate Workshop at the Mariners' Club in Tsim Sha Tsui last week. Besides providing some valuable tips for the participants, the event helped them gain insights into the judging criteria, while getting a taste of what it was like to be a judge themselves.

The workshop was hosted by Stan Dyer, the competition co-ordinator, and Jeff Bell, a judge and English teacher from HKFEW Wong Cho Bau Secondary School.

"We have been running the workshop for students and adjudicators since 2003 and it has been a great success. It tells students how to get good marks and boosts the confidence of debaters who are new to the competition, especially for the junior teams," said Dyer. "We show videos of previous debates and give the students a marking sheet each and let them be adjudicators."

It proved a useful experience for Ip Wing-yan, a Form Four student from YWCA Hioe Tjo Yoeng College. "The workshop allowed me to see the debate from an adjudicator's point of view. I have learned how to interpret points and how to score points in terms of the manner, matter and argument in my speech," she said.

Ip was reminded of how her team was knocked out last time when they misinterpreted the motion. "It was a painful mistake that we cannot afford to make again," she said.

Gordon Lee Mang-hei, a Form Three student from St Mark's School, said the workshop helped him learn more about debating skills. "From being an adjudicator, I learned a lot about debating skills. Now I am more conscious of the correct timing to put in information in my speech," he said.

The Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.

If you'd like to join 140 other school teams in the 13th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition, e-mail Dyer at [email protected]. Deadline is January 13. There are only a few places left.

For more information, visit www.nesta.hk/debating.php