Debating and Public Speaking

Debating and Public Speaking develops students’ confidence, respect for others and sense of timing and structure, as well as their ability to present a persuasive argument and their knowledge of current affairs topics.

MLC School competes in three debating competitions for students from Year 6 to Year 12; the Independent Schools Debating Association (ISDA) Competition, the Friday Evening Debating (FED) Competition and the Archdale Debating Shield Competition, and has had outstanding success.

In 2014, both Year 7 and Year 9 teams won their divisions in the ISDA, Years 7, 8 and 10 progressed to the Grand Final in the FED competition, and MLC School was awarded the coveted Archdale Shield for the second consecutive year. In 2015, the Year 9 ISDA team won their division.

Trials for the ISDA and FED competitions take place at the end of Term 4 and beginning of Term 1, and trials for the Archdale Shield competition take place at the beginning of Term 2. Students who are selected for the competitive teams participate in weekly training sessions with experienced and successful debating coaches. Girls who aren’t selected are invited to join the Debating Squad, which provides an opportunity to receive coaching and a greater chance of success at future trials.

Students in Year 5 also have the opportunity to take part in Gala Debating Days held by Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA) in Term 4.

Both the Junior and Senior debating teams have won the Association of Heads of Independent Girls Schools (AHIGS) Debating Grand Final in the Festival of Speech. MLC School has recorded many speakers selected for the Archdale Representative Teams for NSW State Shield competition and has produced twice a NSW State Debating Team and Australian Schools’ Debating Team member.

Participation in the activities and forums for the Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) and the United Nations Youth Association of Australia (UNYA) are also available for students interested in debating, lobbying and speaking in the style of the UN Security Council.

Students participate in the Rostrum Voice of Youth, Legacy and Plain English Speaking competitions, as well as the AHIGS Festival of Speech.

By taking part in Debating and Public Speaking, students develop:

  • Confidence to speak in front of a room full of people
  • Ability to present an argument persuasively
  • Vision to understand that there are two sides to most arguments
  • Respect for others, to let them have their say
  • Sense of timing, to prioritise material and speak in a given time period
  • Structure to order thoughts, to introduce, develop and summarise points
  • General and specific knowledge of many current affairs topics, learnt through research and debate