Debating Wallabies

Mixed Experience: Years 3 - 4

Debating Wallabies is a great way for a beginner student to take their first steps into the world of non-policy debating!

Student to Teacher Ratio 9:1

Course Objectives

  • Give students an introduction to the essential elements of value debates, including cases, point structure, rebuttal and persuasive speaking.

  • Focus in on a specific concept in more depth each term in a supportive environment.

  • Provide students the opportunity to participate in a range of debates on different topics across the term.

Dates: Tuesday 30th of April to 25th of June (9weeks)

Time: 3:45pm to 5:15pm

Price: $432

Course Overview

Key Features

  • Runs over 90-min weekly sessions
  • Designed for mixed-experience Year 3 & 4 students
  • An excellent way for beginner students to take their first steps into the world of debating
  • Places an emphasis on practice every session, with multiple practice debates across the term
  • Follows a similar structure each week – students begin with an activity, run through a new element of content and consolidate with practical speaking tasks
  • Prioritises a supportive and nurturing learning environment for all students
  • Utilises small class sizes to ensure that each student has the opportunity to speak and receive plenty of individualised feedback every session

Term Focuses

Whilst Debating Wallabies always covers the basics concepts involved in value debating – cases, arguments and rebuttal – the focus of the program changes every term:

  • Term #1 looks at how to develop Value Cases as a team;
  • Term #2 focuses on deeper Comparative Arguments and making solid points;
  • Term #3 emphasises Speaker Roles and how students can better persuade their adjudicators; and
  • Term #4 hones in on Comparative Rebuttal and how to best tackle opposing cases.

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!

Term #1 runs from early February to mid-April each year.

The key to winning any debate is not any individual performance – instead, it is how well a team works together that determines their success.

Our Term #1 program focuses on Value Cases, and how debaters can work as a team to best persuade their adjudicator. In addition to the other essential debating skills – argumentation, rebuttal and persuasive speaking – students will take a deep dive into the world of undefined terms, criteria and burdens, and how they can use these tools to link their points with what they need to prove as a team to win debates.

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.

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

  • learn a range of introductory concepts and principles, including case theory, burdens, argumentation and rebuttal, focusing on ‘value’ type debating topics;
  • gain lots of exposure to speaking activities, which will help them build confidence and develop good speaking habits and techniques; and
  • practice their budding skills in a supportive environment, alongside peers of a similar age and ability level.

Who Should Do This Program?

Our Debating Wallabies program is a mixed-level class for students in Years 3 & 4, and aims to help:

  • Students who have no (or little) debating experience and/or no (or little) public speaking experience;
  • Students who have already completed up to 3 terms of Debating Wallabies, as given the focus changes every term, students can continue the program across the year with no repetition;
  • Students who have participated in any of our other Term Programs (such as Speaking Skills JoeysPublic Speaking Wombats or Presentation Skills Lions);
  • Students who have given our holiday workshops (such as Speaking Camp Koalas or Speaking Camp Kangaroos) a go, and are looking to continue their public speaking journey!

We usually recommend that students do a few (and ideally four) terms of our Debating Wallabies program to ensure they cover all the essential areas of comparative debating, before moving up to the more complex Debating Wolverines and Debating Parrots programs.

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss what’s best for your child, or check out our video below to see how our term program progressions work!

What Are The Main objectives of this program?

Fostering a Nurturing Class Environment

Each Debating Wallabies program starts out with the coach facilitating a welcoming class environment and ensuring that all students are across the fundamental rules and concepts involved with debating – making sure everyone, regardless of experience, is up to speed.  The early sessions also involve a range of speaking activities that help students develop their debating skills

Value Case Fundamentals

Over the first few sessions, students will learn about the fundamentals of a value case, including how to structure both affirmative and negative cases, develop their argumentation skills, and define criteria. These concepts will be paired with interactive activities so that students can apply what they are learning to gain a deeper understanding.

Practice Debates

In addition to all the theory, students will have the opportunity to participate in multiple practice debates and speaking activities during the term.  Each debate will be on a different topic, and students will have the opportunity to speak in different roles each time.

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.

How do Students Progress to the more experienced debating wolverines program?

In order to help students develop a strong understanding of debating, Debating Wallabies focuses on ‘value’ and ‘comparative’ type topics, which ask students to determine whether a statement is true or false. You can find out more about different types of topics in this blog.

Whilst not as common as students get older, these topics allow students to work on their argumentation and rebuttal – two very fundamental skills – without worrying about the more complex ‘policy’ type topics that we use in many of our other programs.

It is recommended that students spend 3-4 terms in Debating Wallabies before moving up to Debating Wolverines (unless otherwise recommended by their coach), as this will help them lay the proper foundation to be even better debaters. Every term has a different focus that students should complete before moving up:

  • Term #1: Value Cases
  • Term #2: Comparative Arguments
  • Term #3: Speaker Roles
  • Term #4: Comparative Rebuttal

There is no particular need to start with any of these streams, meaning students are welcome to join in any term.

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 Wallabies 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!

This workshop is run by