NLS JUNIOR DEBATE EXPERIENCE

The Experience began when I had been told that I would be representing the school along with the other members of our team and other teams that would be going with us. At first I wasn’t sure if we would be able to get anywhere in the competition since the other school had 11 and 12 graders representing them. This was also my first debate in a long time.
Before the debate there had been a session by NLSIU on debating. I had not been able to go for this session and I felt this was an advantage the others had over me. Though somewhere in me I still believed we had a chance. On the first day when we arrived at the university we were all very nervous and I was daunted by the older students who I was going to face. We were made to wait for a long time before going to the hall. At the hall we were briefed about the debate and the schedule for the day. The rules were explained to us and all doubts were cleared. We were told the judges are the 2nd and 3rd year students of the university. After that we were told which team would face which team and where the debate would be held. The debates were spread all over the campus.
The first team we faced was “The swing”. They were a team from the home college. The topic for the 1st and 2nd round had been given to us but the other 3 rounds were surprises. We had to participate in all 5 rounds. The first round we were all very nervous since it was our first go at it and we weren’t very used to the format and the way to go around it. I wasn’t sure of any debating strategies that could help us win so it was all up to what we knew. We lost the first round though we learnt a lot from that round and the judge told us what to work on how we can debate better and win the next round. That’s exactly what we did for the next round. We faced another IA team and to our absolute surprise we beat them. It was a very close debate though and we came out as the winners. The 3rd round we faced a team that was in the same grade as us, they were from NPS. This and the fact that we had won the previous round gave us a lot of confidence. Though were just behind that fine line between over confidence and being confident in what we are doing. We walked out of that room victorious.
The 4th round we faced a group of 11th graders from APS. They were really good and were really good competition. The results for this round were not released but we were told what we could have worked on in the debate. Afterwards we were told that we had won this round. Though the best was yet to come…
The last and final general round we faced Christ Junior 1. They were one of the best teams in the competitions and at the end of the competition they were runners up. We were facing them since both of us had 3 out of 4 wins. The judge for this round was the same judge we had for the previous round. By now we were confident in our skill and we knew no matter what win or loss we had come so far and done well. The judge said that it was a high standard debate according to him. It was very close debate between the two of us. At the end we lost to them by 2-3 points. We were winning until the first 2 speeches but their whip was the reason they won. He wrapped up all their points and rebutted our points very well. He got the best speaker award at the end of the competition.
Our team came 10th after those 5 rounds and missed the quarter finals by only 1 point. Thought I have learnt a lot from this debate and it was a great learning experience. I now know that debating is something I can do and it is something I want to take forward. In the whole competition I was the 5th best speaker out of the 96 speakers. I have learnt a lot from this competition and hope to use it in my life and other competitions I participate in the future.

Siddarth Saxena

Grade 8 IGCSE

My experience at the National law school Debate 2011 (junior category), was one filled with excitement, a lot of nervousness and of course, a lot of Debating!!! It was a wonderful opportunity to prove ourselves, learn the tactics and styles of debating at college level, and it played a major role in boosting our confidence!!! Debating requires a large amount of good communication skills, assertiveness, observing and a whole lot of confidence!! If you falter, you lose confidence in what you are saying, and you do not sound very convincing to the judge anymore. Therefore, it is very important to stay calm. Parliamentary debating also requires a team of three, and it greatly helps to develop teamwork!!!

A lot of times, people would get attached emotionally to the argument and start becoming aggressive, this probably lost them a lot of points, as manners are also important in debating.

It was amazing to be able to debate against 12th graders, and to be able to put forth your points, elaborate and make clear what you are trying to say!!!

It was also quite tiring and exhausting, as there weren’t very many breaks given to us between rounds, but this was understandable, as they had a lot to cover over the course of two days. I had never done parliamentary debating before, and the fact that we only got to know the motions the evening before the big day, didn’t help either… And to add to that, I hadn’t even been able to attend the workshop!!!

But, when I went up to the podium, all my fears melted away. It was just me and 6 other people in the room, including the judge… I could do whatever I wanted with that five minutes of time, but I decided that I was there to prove my point and create an impression on my peers and judges

THE ROUNDS – The topics:

– sports – F1 races harm or good for developing countries??

– media – paid news??

– politics – assassination of Anwar Al Awlaki fair??

– education –  corporal punishment??

– religion –  religious symbols in school??

RULES:

The debate was in Parliamentary format, which meant that each team had a Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and a whip.

It is the prime minister’s primary role to introduce the topic and enforce and elaborate points.

It is the Deputy Prime minister’s job to counter attack, use rebuttals and introduce more points into the debate.

It is the Whip’s role to conclude the debate by speaking strongly about the team’s points and stating why his/her team should win.

There were five rounds, before the quarterfinals, the motions for the first and third round were given two days prior to the debate, the other three motions were given 30 minutes before the debate where we got time to prepare. Each speaker was given 5 minutes. It was for 8 to 12th graders…

Our team won three rounds and lost two. We missed the quarterfinals by a mere point…

Out of a 102 contestants two of our school participants got into the top 10 speakers list. My friend and team mate Siddharth ranked 5th whilst I ranked 9th!!!

It was a proud moment for me!!! All in all, I had a wonderful experience!!!!

Neeti Ganjur

Grade 8 IC