With Debating as one of the largest and most successful programs at Fintona, the House Debating Competition is always hotly contested. An in-person competition has not been held since 2019, with the 2020 program going online and the 2021 competition being cancelled
Two weeks prior to the event, the students from Years 5-8 receive their topics, whilst the senior students learned that, for the first time, they would be completing a secret topic that would be released on the day. This allowed the senior students more time to mentor the younger students, many of whom had not seen a debate before.
The Year 5/6 teams debated that ‘Fintona should finish at 12pm on a Friday’, a topic selected in reflection of a practice that did use to occur at Fintona, where students would leave to complete community service or sporting programs and the teachers marked work and planned their lessons. The first Year 7/8 debate questioned whether ‘Female athletes should earn the same as male athletes’ with many of the negative teams choosing to discuss why, actually, female athletes should earn more than their male counterparts. A very modern issue for schools was contemplated in the second Year 7/8 debate where they examined if ‘Manners should be taught in schools’. The role of schools and parents in the development of children were weighed against each other in this hotly contested round. All of the junior debates were adjudicated by senior students, allowing them to better understand how debate adjudication works.
The secret topics were released an hour before the debate time and students moved into planning rooms to discuss and write their speeches. Despite many of the students never having done this before, all showed their tenacity and ability to think on their feet.
The first round for Year 9/10 asked the students to reflect on whether ‘Students should select the English texts they study, not the teachers’, a feat that became a little more nerve wracking for those with English teachers as their adjudicators. The first Year 11/12 topic questioned if ‘Everyone in the world should be forced to speak the same language’ with issues regarding colonialism and cultural appropriation weighed up against the benefits of one language in breaking down barriers.
In the second round for 9/10, they asked that ‘We should ban all examinations in schools’, a popular topic particularly since we have just finished the mid-year exam season! The 11/12s contemplated a deeply contentious topic that ‘Film and tv studios should only hire actors who are the same age, gender, ethnicity, ability (as in able bodied/disabled) and sexual orientation as the character they are being hired to play.’. The knowledge and passion displayed by the students in this debate was particularly mesmerising. With the 11/12 Ower-Boyne debate pitting the Year 12 debate team members against each other left their adjudicator, Mr Stringer, pouring over his notes to make sure that the exceptionally high standard was reflected in his remarks.
And another big thank you to the students who adjudicated.
And a final thank you to the House Staff for supporting the students in participating in this exciting event.
Debating & Public Speaking Coordinator