Secondary Debating

Debating Overview

At Islamic College of Melbourne we have a well-established Debating and Public Speaking program led by our Debating and Public Speaking Coordinator Mr Jarrod Carrington.
2022 ICOM Debating Secondary Team

Why Debate?

Debating is an invaluable skill for students:

  • It promotes confidence and effective public presentation.
  • It encourages logical and critical thinking, social awareness, and an interest in current affairs.
  • It is multi-disciplinary: debating techniques can be used in all subject areas. Its benefits extend through all aspects of the school curriculum.
  • It is well directed to address the critical & creative thinking, ethical, intercultural, personal & social dimensions of the Victorian curriculum.

How Debating Works

Formal debates are conducted by the Debater’s Association of Victoria and involve two sides: one supporting a resolution (affirmative team) and one opposing it (negative team). There are three speakers on each team, each with a specific role to play in the debate.

  1. First speaker – Sets up their team’s case, proposes a model (if required) and defines key terms. The first speaker should present two arguments supporting the team’s case.
  2. Second speaker – Rebuts the points made by the first speaker and provides two more substantive arguments.
  3. Third speaker – Rebuts the entire opposing team’s arguments and sums up their team’s case.

An impartial adjudicator will judge the winner of the debate. The decide the debate in three main areas:

  • Matter – Refers to the arguments made. Are they clearly outlined? Has evidence been provided to support key points? Has the point been linked back to the contention of argument?
  • Method – Refers to the structure and timing of the speech.
  • Manner – The way in which the speech has been delivered.

The speakers are scored out of 100, with the highest scoring speaker winning the best speaker award for the debate.

2021 Debating Timetable

  • Round 1: Wednesday March 10th, 2021
  • Round 2: Wednesday May 5th, 2021
  • Round 3: Wednesday May 19th, 2021
  • Round 4: Wednesday June 16th, 2021
  • Round 5: Wednesday August 4th, 2021
  • If you are arranging transport to the venue for your child, students should arrive no later than 6:40pm. If your child is involved in a secret debate they must arrive no later than 5:40pm. Parents are reminded that they must be at the venue to pick up your child no later than 9pm.

Senior Debating

In 2021 our Year 9–12 debaters will be competing in face-to face competition at Williamstown High School (Bayview campus) located on Bayview St, Williamstown VIC 3016.

Debating Location – Williamstown High School

2021 Debating Topics

A Grade (Year 12)

    • Round 1: That Victoria should abandon the Belt and Road deal with China
    • Round 2:That we regret the rise of cancel culture
    • Round 3: Secret Topic
    • Round 4: Secret Topic
    • Round 5: Secret Topic

B Grade (Year 11)

      • Round 1: That schools should not teach texts that are deemed to contain discriminatory texts
      • Round 2: That the government should fund universal free childcare
      • Round 3: Secret Topic
      • Round 4: Secret Topic
      • Round 5: Secret Topic

C Grade (Year 10)

      • Round 1: That alcoholic products should be subject to plain packaging laws
      • Round 2: That we support mandatory national service
      • Round 3: Advised Topic – Education
      • Round 4: Secret Topic
      • Round 5: That the economy is a poor measure of a nation’s success

D Grade (Year 9)

      • Round 1: That the government should subsidise tourism in regional Victoria
      • Round 2: That animal testing should be banned
      • Round 3: That public transport should be free
      • Round 4: That smokers should not have their medical treatments subsidised
      • Round 5: That television programs glorifying the military (e.g. SAS) should not be broadcast

Plain English Speaking Award

PESA is a public-speaking competition for students aged 15-18 years. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to build self-confidence and extend their skills in oral communication, speech writing and research.

The competition encourages students from government, Catholic and independent schools to speak to their peers from other schools on topics they are passionate about.

In Australia, each year states and territories organise and conduct competitions at school, regional and state levels. State winners then go to the national final, which is held in the various states and territories on a rotational basis.

In Victoria, PESA is organised and conducted by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

ICOM selects two students each year to participate. There will be heats to select the two students who will represent ICOM during Week 10 of Term 1.

Secret Topics

Secret topics are released one hour before the debate begins. Teams should arrive an hour and fifteen minutes before the scheduled debating time to allow time for roll call.

Advised topics are released in the same way as secret topics, but the general subject area of the topic is known in advance.

Junior Debating

In 2021, our Years 7-8 debaters will take part in a junior debating competition that will take place at Islamic College of Melbourne in the Secondary Village. The junior debaters are trained over two afternoons at school. They then participate in three debates with schools across the Wyndham Region who attend ICOM to participate.

It’s an exciting opportunity for younger secondary students to get involved.

This competition takes place across Term 4. Expressions of interest will be sent out to students in Term 3.