Monday, June 24, 2013

Debate Contest

I have been a little slack in updating my blog. My school decided to enter a team into the debate competition in Daejeon a couple of weeks ago. In the two weeks leading up to the contest I stayed back at school late in the evening with the team to help them prepare. 

And we ordered Pizza :)

The two weeks went by quickly and before we knew it D-day had arrived. We packed into the head English teachers car and she drove us to a nearby school where the competition was to be held. 

This is the gymnasium at the school. The finals would be held here, but the first few rounds would be held in classrooms located below the gym.

This is the competition draw. We didn't find out what team number we would be until after the opening ceremony. 

And here is the list of debate topics we spent the last two weeks discussing. The topics were randomly assigned to different rounds and the final battle for 1st place would be a mystery topic drawn out of a hat 5 minutes before the students had to debate. 

My pretty blue shoe covers.

My students doing some last minute preparation before the opening ceremony. 

And... some wonderful speeches...

Our team number was assigned (Team 8) and the first topics were chosen. My students knuckled down even harder and practiced there arguments right up until they entered the competition room. They were really nervous to the point where they couldn't stop shaking. I told them no matter what happened, I was proud of how hard they had worked. I wasn't allowed into the classroom (students and judges only), but before I was ushered away from the window I managed to snap this photo. My students are on the left. 

The judges took bloody ages to make a decision. They called our final speaker in (the boy pictured below) and told him the result. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to keep the straightest face I have ever seen before saying "WE WON". We were all super happy to say the least. 

They continued on and made it to the semi finals where they were finally beaten. I felt sorry for them because they had worked so hard and had they argued the "pro" rather than the "con" position I think they would have won. Sadly it often comes down to luck of the draw. They would be battling it out for 3rd place in the gymnasium. 

And here they are (on the right) in the gymnasium. 

Unfortunately they drew the short straw again and were arguing "con" for Topic 1: are school uniforms necessary. They still came 4th (out of 14 teams) which is quite an achievement. I had a great time working with them. It was a real joy to work with students so enthusiastic to learn and improve their English. 

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