Debating Parrots

Mixed Experience: Years 5 - 7

Debating Parrots is the ideal course for students who are either new to debating, or would like to learn what policy debating is all about.

Student to Teacher Ratio 9:1

Course Objectives

  • Give students an introduction to the basic concepts of policy debating, including cases, point structure and rebuttal.
  • Provide students with a range of opportunities to participate in practice debates.
  • Allow students to build their confidence and practice their skills over the course of the term.
Dates: Tuesday 30th of April to 25th of June (9weeks)

Time: 5:20pm to 6:50pm

Price: $432

Course Overview

Debating is an integral part of the modern co-curricular programs run at schools today. Not only does it help students develop their confidence -and work as a team – it also helps other essential skills crucial in day-to-day life at school. From critical thinking to building resilience (losing is never easy, but it’s even more difficult after giving a speech), there is plenty that all students can take away from debating!

Our Debating Parrots program provides students with the foundations they’ll need to take part in (and in most cases actually enjoy) debating. Through learning proper case theory, argument structure and rebuttal strategy, this course is a great way to prepare students for some of the new speaking and analytical challenges they will be presented with throughout late primary and early high school.

Whilst Debating Parrots always covers the basics concepts involved in policy debating, the focus of the program changes every term:

Term #1 looks at how to best develop cases as a team;
Term #2 focuses on deeper argumentation and making strong points;
Term #3 emphasises persuasive debating to help students better persuade their adjudicators; and
Term #4 hones in on rebuttal, and how to best tackle your opponents.
Whilst it’s recommended that students give each of these streams a try, there is no particular need to start with any of them, meaning students are welcome to join at any time!

As with all our programs, class sizes are kept small so that each student can be provided with maximum support and attention, including plenty of individualised feedback from our experienced coaches.

Our Term #1 Focus - Policy Cases + Teamwork!

Debating, like many sports and other activities, is won and lost as a team – whilst individual performances are important, it is the team element that really defines success in a debate.

Our Term #1 program focuses on cases, and how debaters can work as a team to best persuade their adjudicator. Students will be stepped through the importance of burdens, which are even more complex in ‘policy’ style debates, and how they can work together to link their arguments and rebuttal to what they need to prove as a team to win a debate.

These are then tied into a range of speaking activities and debates, all with plenty of personalised feedback, to help them put these concepts into practice.

Who Should Do This Program?

Our Debating Parrots course is a mixed experience level program.

This course assumes no particular knowledge – students are more than welcome to join the program with little (or even no) debating experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, and there is no better time than the present.

Noting this, the program is also appropriate for students who have already completed our Debating Wallabies term program, as it focuses on ‘Policy’ style debates, rather than the more straightforward ‘value-based’ style debates covered in that course. We would also recommend that students who have previously completed our Debating Hummingbirds holiday program give the Debating Parrots program a chance, as it goes into more depth on various concepts than the holiday programs.

In addition, this program is also appropriate for students who have previously completed our Public Speaking Penguins term program, or Public Speaking Hummingbirds or Public Speaking Hawks holiday programs – debating and public speaking are very different skills, and whilst both will help develop confidence, students will get plenty out of doing both programs.

Finally, whilst Debating Parrots always covers the basics concepts involved in policy debating, it is recommended that students give each of our focuses a try before moving on to the next level:

Term #1 looks at how to best develop cases as a team;
Term #2 focuses on argumentation and making strong points;
Term #3 emphasises speaking manner and speaker roles to help students better persuade their adjudicators; and
Term #4 hones in on rebuttal, and how to best tackle your opponents.
There is no particular need to start with any of these streams, meaning students are welcome to join at any time.

That said, if your child already has already completed our Debating Hawks holiday program or our Debating Wolverines term program, has formal debating training from another provider or is already receiving coaching as part of a school team, they may get more out of our more advanced Debating Pelicans program – please get in touch if you’d like to discuss what’s best for your child!

What Are The Main objectives of this program?

Over the course of the term, students will have the opportunity to:

  • learn core introductory theory about ‘Policy’ debates;
  • explore case development, argument structure and rebuttal strategies, and how these all link to the burdens they need to prove to win debates;
  • deploy what they have learned in at least three in-class debates across the term;
  • practice different speaking roles and argue from both affirmative and negative sides of a debate; and
  • learn how to work effectively in a team environment!

what will students cover over the course of the term?

Fostering a Nurturing Class Environment

At the beginning of each Debating program, the coach seeks to facilitate a welcoming class environment and ensures that all students across the elemental rules and concepts involved in debating – in short, that everyone feels accepted and up to speed, regardless of their experience. The early sessions also involve a range of speaking activities that help students develop their fundamental debating skills.

Case Structure, Argumentation + Rebuttal

Over the first couple of sessions, the students will alternate each week between covering crucial debating skills – such as argumentation and rebuttal – with practice debates. It is important to cover each of these concepts first, and ensure that everyone is across them – this helps students to feel comfortable and confident enough to express their ideas, allowing them to start concentrating on their speaking manner instead.

Burdens

From the mid-point of the term, students will take the skills they’ve covered in the first few weeks, and start linking them to burdens – the central ideas that they need to prove in order to win a debate as a team. This involves going through burden theory, and then various activities to help students practice those links, creating a much stronger association in their minds.

Practice Debates

In addition to all the theory, students will have the opportunity to participate in multiple practice debates during the term (and almost every week as the term progresses). Each debate will be on a different topic, and students will have the opportunity to speak in various roles across the term.

Parent Presentations

As with all our weekly programs, the term concludes with a presentation to the students’ parents. This is a great way to help them develop the confidence to speak directly to adults, as well as being a good opportunity for them to showcase their new skills.

For physical classes, we’ll make an assessment closer to the end of the term as to whether we can run presentations in person – if government restrictions still prevent parents from entering the classrooms, we’ll either film their presentations, or alternatively livestream them for parents to watch from home!

If there aren’t any spots left, it’s usually because we’ve hit capacity – please get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do about either opening an extra class, fitting your child into the existing class, or putting you on a waitlist in case any students pull out!

How Big Is The Class?

Our classes vary in size for every program depending on how many bookings we receive – however, the maximum size of our Debating Parrots class is around nine students with one coach.

If there aren’t any spots left, it’s usually because we’ve hit capacity – please get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do about either opening an extra class, fitting your child into the existing class, or putting you on a waitlist in case any students pull out!

what will students have at the end of the program?

By the end of each program, students will have:

  • a feedback sheet, prepared individually for them by their coach, which goes through what they’ve improved on, and what still needs some work;
  • a certificate recognising their achievements;
  • a course booklet that covers everything they’ve learned throughout the program;
  • the speech that they prepared for their final presentations; and
  • a better understanding of how debating works from a practical perspective!

This workshop is run by