Working with AMWCHR

FD ran an action-packed workshop at the Melbourne University Law School in co-operation with the Australian Muslim WomenÕs Centre for Human Rights (AMWCHR). Several FD trainers worked with a group of almost forty students from three Melbourne – based schools: East Preston Islamic College, Mount Hira College and the Australian International Academy. Students warmed up with voice exercises and then spoke enthusiastically about topics such as the injustices of child labour and domestic violence to the power of social media. All students developed the confidence to speak in front of their audience Ð even those who were adamant they wouldnÕt be able to! FD found it a pleasure to help such passionate students take steps to fulfil their potential, and we look forward to working again with AMWCHR.

Enabling Day 2011

Free Debate’s annual Enabling Day aims to build skills, enthusiasm and capacity in our membership and partner organisations. This year’s Enabling Day was attended by teachers from interested organisations, FD members and new recruits to the FD cause. Melodie Potts Rosevear, CEO of Teach For Australia was this year’s guest speaker and we’d like to thank TFA for generously letting us their premises for the day. FD provided an introduction to the FD method as well as sharing of powerful teaching techniques and experiences. The day also included a negotiation skills workshops and practical tips on how to engage with other parties and organisations successfully. FD’s AGM followed the Enabling Day, with both new and old faces set to lead the organisation into the next year.

Save the Date – FD Enabling Day – Saturday 17 September 2011

11.00am to 3.15 pm Saturday, 17th September 2011 Level 1, 103 Flinders Lane, Melbourne (next to ACDC Lane) Free Debate is a group of current and former debaters who use their debating powers for good, helping foster free and fair debate with a focus on helping the under-priveleged, under-represented, and under-prepared. Free DebateÕs work ranges from assisting new migrants with public speaking and advocacy skills to working with school student debaters in some of MelbourneÕs most disadvantaged schools. FD’s Annual Enabling Day is a fun interactive few hours where you will Learn FD’s methods for coaching debating and public speaking Learn some practical skills like negotiation, leadership and organisational theory Meet world class debaters and coaches Get signed up to help with FD’s fun and life-changing activities. RSVP by e-mail

Teaching Teach For Australia

Free Debate conducted a workshop for up-and-coming teachers in the inaugural Teach For Australia intake. Teach For Australia aims to improve student outcomes in areas of educational disadvantage by attracting, supporting and training graduates to teach in disadvantaged schools. Students were identified and hand-picked as top performers from a range of university disciplines by Teach for Australia and who are now undergoing intensive training prior to working as teachers for two years. Free Debate worked with a group of about sixty students who received interactive training in ways they can teach confident, clear, reasoned public speaking to their students. We challenged the eager cohort of future teachers with the sorts of activities they might use in turn with their own students, including small group Oxford-style debates. Workshop participants argued passionately for and against the concept of performance pay for teachers and the introduction of a new demand-driven market-based system for school funding whereby government funding would be allocated to students in the form of vouchers which are used to pay any school. We also provided participants with the first edition of Free Debate’s Teachers’ Guide. Our guide contains lesson plans, extra activities and games to use, and contact details for ongoing support which Free Debate is excited to provide these new teachers for their future endeavours in the classroom. Free Debate would like to thank Teach For Australia for the opportunity to work with them and we wish all the future teachers well in their future classrooms!

Another Fantastic Pre-Australs!

Run in conjunction with the Auckland University Debating Society, the Fourth Free Debate Pre-Australs Competition was held in Auckland in July. Pre-Australs is a small, friendly tournament for debaters with limited opportunities to practice in English to warm up before the Australasian Championships. This year, Free Debate trainers Seamus Coleman, Phil Barker and Amit Golder participated in what was the largest and most successful Pre-Australs yet! Participants came from across Australasia and this year saw a greater amount of debaters from Northeast Asia than ever before. Teams debated a diverse range of topics which included That we should implement gender quotas on the boards of all publicly listed companies That we should elect all judges That the state should remove morbidly obese children from the care of their parents, and That all major sporting leagues should have a salary cap (which produced a truly amazing and fascinating debate!). As part of the tournament, all debaters, as well as the adjudicators and Free Debate trainers participated in an issues forum. We discussed topics ranging from whaling to pornography to the stylistic preferences of adjudicators from across the Australasian region. The issues forum again proved a massive success with all participants Ð allowing everyone involved to learn from each other, and benefit from the experiences and ideas of a room full of very engaged individuals. The Grand Final was a hotly contested debate between Korea University 1 and Macau University on the topic ÒThat the West should require Israel to forfeit its nuclear weaponsÓ. The Korea University team, comprised of Seth Kang, Claire Minyoung Kim, Junbin Yun, won the debate and the tournament! This team then went on to win the ESL division of the Australasian Championships. Congratulations to all debaters who took part in the competition, and special thanks to all trainers and adjudicators who helped to make the competition a success. Free DebateÕs special thanks go to Nupur Upadhyay from Auckland University whose tireless efforts, professionalism and constant smile were crucial to the competition. See you all in 2011!

Free Debate Enabling Day

Free Debate’s annual Enabling Day aims to build skills and enthusiasm in our membership. This year’s highlight was guest speaker Lisa from VASS. Lisa spoke about the work Free Debate does with VASS and gave us some valuable advice on how to approach the projects. President Elizabeth Sheargold welcomed new members then Tim, Lucia and Kim gave a seminar on the 3C’s (Confidence, Content and Clarity) and Victor led the group through some voice exercises. Please contact us if you would like to know more about this year’s Enabling Day.

Introductory workshop for Monash International Students

Free Debate and the Monash Association of Debaters worked with the Monash University International Students Service to present an introductory public speaking and presentation skills workshop. The course was targeted at international students for whom English is a second language, and was held over three Monday lunchtimes. Over 20 students participated. In the first two sessions, we worked on speaking skills and structure and participants presented 2-3 minute speeches on issues of significance in their home country. In the third session, we focused on answering questions in a tutorial setting Ð an area where many participants told us they have difficulty. We provided practical advice on how to manage unclear or complicated questions, and followed this up with a mock tutorial to put these tips into action. The programme was a great success and we have been asked to present another series in the second half of the year.

Youth Leadership Course with Drummond Street Relationship Centre and Victorian Arabic Social Services

Free Debate volunteers participated in another excellent youth leadership program developed by Victorian Arabic Social Services (VASS), in conjunction with the Drummond Street Relationship Centre. We worked with 10 young women and 10 young men on developing a confident speaking style. Each of the participants wrote and delivered a short speech on a topic that they felt passionate about. The range of topics was impressive – from concerns about animal rights, the environment, and knife crime, to a passionately argued case to allow 16 year olds with good school attendance records to begin driving. Free Debate volunteers also assisted the participants to provide feedback to their peers, with a focus on bolstering the speaker’s confidence. In one of the two sessions we were lucky enough to have in the audience a lawyer from Youthlaw. This meant the young people were able to deliver their speeches to a (very impressed) representative from an advocacy body. About VASS: One of Free Debate’s strongest partners, VASS is a state-wide key service provider with specialist expertise and knowledge in working with Arabic-speaking-background communities.

Melton Secondary College

Free Debate trainer Anthony Kung conducted 4 sessions of debating training for 16 Year 10 students at Melton Secondary College. The students who participated were reserved at first but seemed to revel in the opportunity to express and discuss opinions. The practice debate about the ethics of animal testing showcased a range of views and honed their ability to refine an argument, while the forum about bushfire policy highlighted their improved knowledge of current affairs and government policies. The improvements in engagement and confidence were obvious! Free Debate thanks Margaret Canaway at Melton SC for the opportunity to work with the students.

Free Debate Pre-Australs 2009!

From 29 June to 1 July 2009, Free Debate, in conjunction with Monash Australs, welcomed 56 debaters and 12 trainers from 6 countries across Asia to the third Free Debate Pre-Australs Tournament! The tournament involved 5 rounds, semi and grand finals, a fun-filled championship dinner as well as two training forums – focusing on debating skills, strategies, tips and tactics. Congratulations to the winning team from the University of Tokyo comprised of Dai Oba, Ryotaro Tanaka and Atsushi Inatsuka. Congratulations also to the best speaker of the tournament, Alex Keen from MMU Melaka. Thanks to all the tournament participants for making this such an enjoyable and high quality event. Particular thanks to our amazing collection of trainers. These trainers included: Kim Little, Liz Sheargold, Rob Koh, Lynne Featonby, Lucia Pietropaoli, Tim Sonnreich, Kylie Lane, Melany Tejda, Logandran Balavijendran, Sharmilla Parmanand, Tim Jeffrie and Julia Bowes! And special thanks to the Monash Australs team who helped us out with logistics!