Mrs Miriam Ham, Head of English, said that the debating competitions required the students to research and prepare their arguments, as well as to be able to respond at very short notice to clever counter-arguments and hairy questions. Debating also required that they often need to argue in support of viewpoints that actually go against their own personal beliefs. Some topics go “across their moral grain” and also deal with controversial world issues.
“Being forced to tackle issues from alternative points of view improves their ability to reason on their feet and construct logical answers in a short space of time,” Mrs Ham said.
She said the students were involved in the Queensland Debating Competition, which required that they travel to Brisbane sometimes up to three times a month. “Each team has four students officially in it, but they also have other students assisting with research.”
The speeches go between seven and eight and a half minutes, including rebuttal. The senior debating team has performed strongly in recent years, reaching the finals in the last two years.