Debaters at the WSDC – Part 1

Datum: Jul 26th, 2016
By
Category: international, Menschen, Mittwochs-Feature, Turniere

On the 19th-29th Juli the World Schools Debating Championships take place in and around Stuttgart, Germany (an article about the WSDC 2016 can be found here). The Achte Minute was visiting the event and has interviewed some of the participating debaters from all around the world. Because of the large number of interviews, the first part of this Mittwochs-Feature is already published today. The second part will be published regularly at 10am on Wednesday.

In this part you can find the interviews with:

Kenza Wilks, Dulwich College – England

Alejo Gonzalez Virgili, Belgrano Day School – Argentina

Jay Tanatswa Muzhingi, Kutama College – Zimbabwe

Kenza Wilks, Dulwich College – England

Kenza Wilks from Team England © Lennart Lokstein

Kenza Wilks from Team England © Lennart Lokstein

Achte Minute: Hello Kenza! How old are you?

Kenza: 17.

Achte Minute: How long have you been into debating by now?

Kenza: Four years.

Achte Minute: Did you only debate at Worlds Schools Debating (WSD) or somewhere else, too?

Kenza: Back in London we do British Parliamentary Style (BPS), so I do that. This is my first year at World Schools.

Achte Minute: How is WSD organized in your country? How has your team been selected?

Kenza: We had a four day trial contest, for which you had to send in a debating resumé of your achievements over the last year. After that, they select around 40 students to come to the trials and over a period of four teams they select us down to the five members of our team.

Achte Minute: Some of the motions were announced months ago. How did your team prepare for them?

Kenza: Well, we thought all of the motions were really interesting and challenging so we spent a lot of time on ideas and thoughts. Especially the moral responsibility debate was getting us into philosophical thoughts we usually don’t come across in English debating.

Achte Minute: How are you spending the one hour preparation time you have for the impromptu debates?

Kenza: We try to just think about which arguments will be the most compelling and also try to spend some time thinking about what opposition might be about because this helps us. The rest, of course, are sworn secrets.

Achte Minute: How do you decide who speaks in which round?

Kenza: Our coaches just decide.

Achte Minute: What are you planning to do after school?

Kenza: Well, hopefully I’ll go to university. Like many other debaters I’m interested in politics, philosophy and economics, but I’m not sure about any university yet.

Achte Minute: What has debating taught you?

Kenza: Debating has taught me the importance of engaging with other people’s arguments, building coherent thoughts and expressing them to other people. I think that’s a really great skill that debating offers.

Achte Minute: Thank you, Kenza! Good luck at the tournament.

 

Alejo Gonzalez Virgili, Belgrano Day School – Argentina

The delegation from Argentina - © Lennart Lokstein

The delegation from Argentina – © Lennart Lokstein

Achte Minute: Hello Alejo! How old are you?

Alejo: I’m 17.

Achte Minute: How long have you been into debating by now?

Alejo: Five years.

Achte Minute: Did you only debate at WSD or somewhere else, too?

Alejo: I’ve only debated WSD, but in different competitions.

Achte Minute: How is WSD organized in your country? How has your team been selected?

Alejo: In our country we have a debating association, the Argentine Debating Association. They organize events where schools can participate. When they do the selections they look at regional competitions and preselect the 12 best scorers. After that we have a speaking and a knowledge test.

Achte Minute: Some of the motions were announced months ago. How did your team prepare for them?

Alejo: We met once a week, on the Saturdays. Each weekend we came together, prepared for a different motion, so what we did was corrected and then debated.

Achte Minute: How are you spending the one hour preparation time you have for the impromptu debates?

Alejo: We have a system where, depending on the speakers’ positions, we have the first speakers working on the first two arguments and the second speakers working on the third argument. We don’t always do it this way, but here it worked quite well.

Achte Minute: How do you decide who speaks in which round?

Alejo: Actually our coach decides. He tells us one day before each debate who will speak. So we have one day to spar with another team or ourselves.

Achte Minute: What are you planning to do after school?

Alejo: I’m going to study economics in Argentina. The London School of Economics has a department there so you can study without having to move. I’d love to have a career both in politics and the private sector, probably first in a company and then in local politics.

Achte Minute: What has debating taught you?

Alejo: Debating has taught me that you can have ideas on a certain matter, but that doen’t mean that there can’t be different opinions and that it can’t be changed.

Achte Minute: Thank you for your time and good luck at the WSDC!

 

Jay Tanatswa Muzhingi, Kutama College – Zimbabwe

Members and coach of Team Zimbabwe - © Lennart Lokstein

Members and coach of Team Zimbabwe – © Lennart Lokstein

Achte Minute: Hi Jay, nice to meet you! How old are you?

Jay: I’m 18.

Achte Minute: How long have you been into debating by now?

Jay: Six years.

Achte Minute: Did you only debate at WSD or somewhere else, too?

Jay: I’ve done World Schools Debate and Karl Popper.

Achte Minute: How is WSD organized in your country? How has your team been selected?

Jay: We have the Contemporary Affairs Foundation, they hold a tournament, the Zimbabwe Schools Debating Championship. They communicate with all the schools in Zimbabwe and from those who come they select the participants for the Worlds team.

Achte Minute: Some of the motions were announced months ago. How did your team prepare for them?

Jay: It’s difficult because we live in different places, so we use the internet for exchange. What we usually do is to get questions from our coaches on each motion, we work on them, then we swap the motions and questions, so at the end of the day everyone works on each motion.

Achte Minute: How are you spending the one hour preparation time you have for the impromptu debates?

Jay: The first five minutes are for brainstorming, then five minutes for individual thoughts. After that we start looking for examples to justify our arguments and we prepare speeches.

Achte Minute: How do you decide who speaks in which round?

Jay: Usually we listen what we and our coach think. Sometimes you feel demotivated, sometimes it’s not your motion, but usually the coach just chooses the speakers.

Achte Minute: What are you planning to do after school?

Jay: I want to study law, corporate law. I’d like to do that either in Columbus in the USA or in South Africa or at home.

Achte Minute: What has debating taught you?

Jay: It has taught me that every word counts and that we should choose our words wisely, because a single word can change everything.

Achte Minute: Thank you for the interview! Good luck at the WSDC!

 

Amy Spittal, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls – New Zealand

Team New Zealand and coach - © Lennart Lokstein

Team New Zealand and coach – © Lennart Lokstein

Achte Minute: Hello Amy! How old are you?

Amy: I’m 17 years old.

Achte Minute: How long have you been into debating by now?

Amy: Since the start of high school, so for about four years.

Achte Minute: Did you only debate at WSD or somewhere else, too?

Amy: I debated with my schools team in our regular regional competition and then our team went to the regional championships, so I got selected for the regional team and then later for the national team.

Achte Minute: Some of the motions were announced months ago. How did your team prepare for them?

Amy: We researched articles and our coaches helped us preparing cases. After that we tried them in debates to improve our cases and train rebuttal.

Achte Minute: How are you spending the one hour preparation time you have for the impromptu debates?

Amy: All of us brainstorm, then we talk collectively about the main points, after that comes the structure of the arguments. Then we go into groups and prepare the first and second speech.

Achte Minute: How do you decide who speaks in which round?

Amy: Our coaches decide. Our speaking positions have been quite flexible in this tournament, I’ve been on all positions so far.

Achte Minute: What are you planning to do after school?

Amy: Next year I want to go to university to study economics and internatioal relations. After that, I wish to pursue something in economics or diplomacy or government, basically in the public sector.

Achte Minute: What has debating taught you?

Amy: So much! Debating teaches you about stuff you won’t think about in your everyday life. It has given me new pespectives.

Achte Minute: Thank you, Amy, for your time and good luck at the tournament!
Interviewing the debaters for the Achte Minute was Lennart Lokstein. For more information about the World Schools Debating Championships 2016 in Stuttgart, visit www.wsdcgermany2016.com. All debates are free of charge and open to the public.

lok./jm./hug.

Mittwochs-Feature

Das Mittwochs-Feature: Every Wednesday at 10.00 a.m. the Mittwochs-Feature features some idea, interview or book regarding debate – usually in German, sometimes in English, sometimes both. If you would like to start a debate please mail us your idea to team [at] achteminute [dot] de.

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