Call for Application for 2008 Hiroshima-Tokyo Debate Seminars Trainer

Free Debate Inc, is seeking an Australian debating coach to attend the 2008 Hiroshima-Tokyo Debate Seminars, from 4-14 August 2008. Free Debate Incorporated, in cooperation with our Japanese partners, will send an Australian debating coach to Hiroshima and Tokyo in August 2008 to deliver a number of debating and communication skills seminars. The Seminars are supported by the Australian Commonwealth Government through the Australian-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The programme will focus on high school and university students who have limited debating opportunities. This exciting new project involves coaching both high school students and university debaters, as well as presenting and attending at a prestigious academic conference sponsored by the Japan Debate Association with the convention theme ÒArgumentation, the Law & Justice.Ó The coach selected will also have the opportunity to attend significant cultural events in Japan, such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony as part of the project. Main Elements of the Program 5-7 August 2008 – Hiroshima – Attend Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony (6 August) and deliver introductory debating seminar to high school students 8-10 August 2008 – Tokyo – Attend and present at the Tokyo International Academic Conference on Argumentation 11-14 August 2008 – Tokyo – Deliver advanced debating, adjudication and critical thinking course to university level debaters For information about applying for this project, email Applications are due Friday 6th June 2008.

Free Debate Enabling Day 2

Free Debate’s second annual Enabling Day built on the success of last year’s membership and training day. This year’s highlights were guest speakers Melanie Tedja (new member) and Tim Sonnreich (Committee consultant). President Kim Little welcomed new members with an introduction to Free Debate’s history, aims and objectives, and then Rob Koh delivered a short presentation on the preparation, delivery and follow-up involved in all Free Debate projects. Please contact us if you would like to know more about this year’s Enabling Day.

JPDU Spring Seminar in Tokyo

The 2008 Spring Seminar, hosted by the Japanese Parliamentary Debating Union (JPDU) from 29 February until 2 March 2008, was an excellent and highly successful programme. Four Australian coaches were funded by the Australia-Japan Foundation to attend the Spring Seminar. Nicole Lynch, Fiona Prowse, Jacob Clifton and Ivan Ah Sam, travelled to Tokyo and ran classes during the three days for over 150 Japanese university and high school debaters. As well as providing an intensive opportunity for accelerated learning in debating, facilitiated through seminars and practice debates, the Spring Seminar provided a unique opportunity for cross-cultural exchange. One coach said about the program Japanese debaters are the most dedicated and hardest working debaters I have come across in my training career. They are extremely diligent and attentive during classes and it is a pleasure to work with them during the Seminar. We look forward to working with JPDU and the Australia-Japan Foundation in the future.

Application for 2008 JPDU Spring Seminar Trainer

JPDU, in cooperation with Free Debate Inc., is seeking Australian debating coaches to attend the 2008 Spring Seminar in Tokyo, from 29 February Ð 2 March 2008. Japan Parliamentary Debate Union (JPDU) is a student-run organization that coordinates events for the advancement of Japanese debaters. It represents debating clubs from 40 universities. For the past five years JPDU has been inviting Australian debaters to Japan to train Japanese debaters at the JPDU Spring Seminar. The Australia-Japan Debaters Spring Seminar is supported by the Australian Commonwealth Government through the Australian-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Free Debate will be selecting coaches in consultation with JPDU. If you are an Australian debater and would like to be considered for a place on the 2008 training team, please provide a brief debating CV and a separate statement addressing the criteria set out below. This statement should be no longer than two pages. Please also provide a one page lesson plan as referred to in criterion [3]. All responses should be sent to with the subject line ÒJPDU Spring Seminar ApplicationÓ. Responses must be submitted no later than 28 January 2008. Please note that selection is open to but not limited to members of Free Debate Inc. If you have any questions about the Spring Seminar, please email JPDU representative Toshiaki Ikehara at Selection criteria [1] Significant training experience, preferably including experience training ESL speakers. [2] A strong record in debating and/or adjudicating at an international level. [3] The ability and capacity to develop a high quality, replicable training program (including a training plan and supporting materials). In addition to providing evidence of your relevant experience, please provide a one page plan summarising how you would run the JPDU training. [4] Proven interpersonal and team-work skills. [5] A commitment to encouraging and supporting a wide variety of people to debate, including the ability and capacity to develop ways to extend the reach of ESL debating training.

Western Chances Update

I really don’t want to speak in front of the group. I wanted to do public speaking training, but I didn’t realise it would involve actual public speaking Free Debate and Western Chances have been working together since 2006 to deliver high quality communications training to youth in Victoria’s western suburbs. And yes the person quoted above did have to talk in front of the group. And yes, she did a very good job, in spite of her fear. Last year Free Debate implemented a successful pilot programme at Bayside College Ð featured in The Bridge newsletter in September ’06 Ð which has resulted in Bayside’s increased involvement in the mainstream debating competition run by the Debater’s Association of Victoria. Free Debate’s four week program focused on basic debating training and research skills and each participant was awarded a certificate by Terry Bracks. Since then Free Debate has expanded its programme to include a “train the trainer” course for teachers with the aim of fostering a debating culture within schools. In 2007 participating schools to date include Kurungang Secondary College, Copperfield College, Kealba College and Bayside Secondary College. More are expected by the end of the year. As the number of schools involved has increased, Free Debate has broadened the programme’s structure to include general presentation and leadership skills as well as formal debating skills. Student leaders as well as debating teams can now learn how to structure, deliver and time a speech, as well as how to use body language, props and microphones. These more general sessions have allowed the students to discuss issues that matter to them (granting an immigration visa to rapper Snoop Dogg was a particularly hot topic in the early sessions) while also having to take up positions contrary to their own. Free Debate is especially grateful for the hard work of Helen Worladge, Executive Director, Western Chances, who has brokered the relationship with Free Debate and has provided constant support as well as introducing Free Debate to other members of the Western Chances network.

Bahr El Ghazal Program – Update

We did our second practice debate today, after running a prep session last Sunday. The topic for Round 2 was ” That the US Should Leave Iraq Immediately “, and the debates were vigorous and enjoyable. It’s gratifying to see that the participants have made substantial improvement in such a short time. In the first round speakers were taking up a lot of time without saying much, and so the focus of our feedback was on bulking out their speeches with more arguments and details. They obviously learned the lesson because this week the debate featured a wide variety of arguments. Well done! Our feedback this time was centred on structure – making sure the participants develop arguments and properly differentiate the key components of their speeches. The standard of their skills is improving fast, and I look forward to hearing about how their third and final round goes. Unfortunately for me, this was my last week with this pilot program. I have other commitments over the next two Sundays, but Kim is taking over and Lucia will do one more week so the guys are in good hands. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Lucia, Duncan, Tom and Matty K for helping with this programme. I think this is the start of a long and productive relationship with Bahr El Ghazal, and it’s been a lot of fun!

Bahr El Ghazal Programme – Week 3

Just a quick update on Week 3 of Free Debate’s programme with the Bahr El Ghazal Community Development Association. We have now divided the group into four teams with a dedicated coach for each team. (The teams are all fiercely competitive and I look forward to seeing my boys wipe the floor with Duncan’s team in the first round!) Next week is Round One of the competition and the topic (selected in consultation with the participants) is ” That new migrants wishing to become citizens should be required to pass a language and values test “. Given that all the debaters are new migrants, it should be an interesting clash! If anyone is interested in sitting in on next Sunday’s debates (and the training and adjudication that will follow) please contact us. The venue is Victoria University (Footscray Campus, Ballarat Road, Building ‘P’ at the rear of the campus, across from the sports field) from 2-4pm.

Bahr El Ghazal Debating Programme

Free Debate is running a debating programme with the Bahr El Ghazal Community Development Association. So far it’s been a phenomenally fun and successful project. We’re working with a group of about twenty lively and enthusiastic Sudanese men who are chomping at the bit to debate competitively. The first week was an information session. Last Sunday was the second of our weekly sessions where we covered speaker roles and the difference between arguments and assertions. We followed the ‘basic training’ up with a series of ‘lightning singles’ debates – which the group took to with great passion and humour. Next week is an ‘advanced training’ session, where we’ll go into a bit more detail about definitions, models and case construction, and then break up into teams and prepare for a practice debate. The practice debate will be on the topic we’ll use for the first round of the competition (beginning the next week) so in effect it’s a ‘full dress rehearsal’ for the competition. The competition will run for three weeks and will be a round robin tournament where all four teams get to debate each other. I’m hoping that the teams will form a close bond with their coach and do additional work between the formal sessions to prepare for the rounds. All sessions and rounds are run on Sundays, 2-4pm and if you’re interested in being involved please contact us. Free Debate thanks Helen from Western Chances Maureen Ryan of Victoria University for her help with the venue, and Lucia, Tom McCarthy, Duncan Kauffman, Matty K, Rollie and Kim.

Building Bridges

Free Debate conducted a presentation class for the Centre for Multi-Cultural Youth Issues (CMYI), as part of the as part of the Building Bridges project. CMYI is a community-based organisation that advocates for the needs of young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Building Bridges is an initiative of Vic Health seeking to promote intercultural understanding as a mechanism to reduce discrimination. For this project, CMYI has bought together young women from diverse backgrounds to organise a women’s event, called Ee-Ha-Yeah, involving a variety of cultural exhibits and activities. The Free Debate team of Lucia, Mat, Rebekah and Roland designed a training course aimed at improving the confidence and presentation skills of the participants, in the context of organising a major event. Our course emphasised practical exercises and was adapted to take account of the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds of the participants. The feedback from the group was quite positive and Free Debate is keen to collaborate with CMYI in future initiatives. Our thanks go to Rachel Murray of CMYI for organising Free Debate’s participation in the programme, and to the participants for their time, efforts and the multicultural feast provided to the trainers.

Victorian Arabic Social Services

Victorian Arabic Social Services (VASS) ran its ÒPublic Speaking and Leadership CourseÓ for young adults with support from Free Debate. Free Debate provided four days of public speaking training to a group of about 15 young people at the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFEÕs campus in Preston. VASS is a state-wide service provider with specialist expertise and knowledge in working with communities with an Arabic-speaking background and advocating on their behalf. Free Debate designed a creative programme, focusing on not only building participantsÕ confidence and presentation skills, but also on the clear, critical thinking needed for leadership. We also included two excellent guest speakers in our programme: the Premier of VictoriaÕs speech writer, Joel Deane, and strategic policy advisor and PowerPoint expert Andrew Nipe. Feedback from the programme has been very positive, and VASS and Free Debate are both keen to collaborate on new projects. Our thanks go to Caitlin, Connie and Lisa of VASS for organising Free DebateÕs participation in this important program, and to Joel and Andrew for sharing their knowledge and skills.