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Debating Gains Momentum at ACG Tauranga

The chance to build confidence, communication and teamwork skills, and the ability to think on your feet are just some of the many reasons the Debating Club continues to flourish at ACG Tauranga.

Ending tax incentives for big businesses, legalising time travel, and introducing school leaver benefits were just some of the topics argued at the recent Bay of Plenty Regional Debating Competition – and ACG Tauranga students were in the thick of the discourse.

ACG’s Junior Debating team won three out of their four debates, while the Senior team came away with two wins. Not only that but Year 10 student Hunter Chapman was picked to participate in the BOP Regional Development Squad for 2022, an opportunity designed to hone the debating skills of young, talented speakers. ACG Tauranga debating coach David Paul was thrilled with the results and is delighted to see the continued growth of debating at the school.

“The students did extremely well at the competition and are highly motivated and keen to participate in more events like this,” says David. “There is so much to gain from debating – it builds confidence, teamwork and quick-thinking skills. In addition, students enjoy the challenge of pitting their wits against other teams to see whether they can out-manoeuvre their opponents.”

Year 12 student and Junior Debating team member Kaleb Evans-Lao likes nothing better than a good argument.

“I’ve always enjoyed public speaking, and I’d argue that nothing is more satisfying than stumping someone in an argument. Debating offers a chance to practice both of these things,” explains Kaleb, who also competed in last year’s competition.

And while he enjoys debating for its recreational benefits, Kaleb believes mastering the art of a formal debate – rather than a rambling argument – is an invaluable life skill.

“It’s not just the ability to effectively argue your ideas, but it’s about listening to other people’s ideas and understanding their point of view. This is a very important skill that I think a lot of people need.”

But debating is not everyone’s idea of a good time, and Kaleb is quick to admit it can be a challenging environment.

“There is, of course, always the nervousness that comes with public speaking. In this latest competition, our challenge at the start was to fill out the allocated six minutes of speaking time allowed. Funnily enough, as the tournament progressed, we encountered the problem of not having enough time to speak!”

Senior Debating team member Imaanay Anees is another student passionate about the art of debate.

“It’s really interesting hearing everyone’s different opinions on everything from politics to policies. I enjoy the fact that usually, the motions are something you would never expect, so you end up broadening your general knowledge,” says Imaanay.

A member of the Debating Club for the past two years, she says participating in formal and informal debates has boosted her self-esteem and provided numerous other benefits.

“Debating massively increases your confidence, improves your presenting skills and teaches you how to argue your point. These attributes will definitely come in handy in the future. Debating is such a worthwhile pursuit because it instils a lifetime’s worth of confidence and awareness in you while also teaching you vital life skills!”

The ACG Tauranga Debating Club: (back row) Zack Liddall, Kaleb Evans-Lao and Olivia Shields; (front row) Imaanay Anees, Claire Ma and Caitlin Lines.
Fellow members Hunter Chapman, Shavonne Mendoza and Renee Reeves-Pedersen are not pictured