Oxbridge & KTJ Debating Forum: Pupils’ Perspective
On the 31st March pupils in the MCM Debating Society took part in a Debating Forum with Kolej Tuanku Jaafar, an international school in Negeri Sembilan. Debating several different motions, our pupils were able to explore interesting topics and develop their debating skills. Below is a series of accounts from pupils who took part in the forum and who are avid members of the MCM Debating Society.
“On March 30th and April 1st 2023, the Debating Society members had the honour to attend the Oxbridge Debating Forum at Kolej Tuanku Jaafar. This event was sponsored by MABECS and Oxbridge Alumni Network in Malaysia, including Malaysian politician, Tony Pua.
We attended a plenary debate by four key Oxbridge speakers, followed by Q&A with the audience. Afterwards, we were allocated to Oxbridge alumni-facilitated student workshops, which included education, economics, politics, science and technology and the environment. Our Debating Society members had the opportunity to debate with other groups from different schools in Malaysia. The format for the debate was Asian Parliamentary which included the proposer, seconder and cross-examiner for each side. We had 10 minutes to compete, followed by 3 minutes of questions from the student audience.
The members of the MCM Debating Society found the event to be an exciting and thrilling experience, and we were overjoyed to gain fresh knowledge and insights from the competition. Not only did we have an incredible time, but we also had the chance to meet new friends from different schools, as well as learn from each other. Personally, I was able to learn how to express my key points firmly and to engage the audience with my views. Furthermore, I learnt new ways to rebut with my opponents. I believe this workshop has helped us to improve our debating skills and speaking competency.”
“The workshop I participated in was education. The motion is memorable, “This house believes that classrooms should be democracies”. One of the important lessons I learnt on that day was to identify the keywords, find all definitions and then put the motion together. If it weren’t for our facilitator’s calmness and her orderly way of processing the motion, it would have taken us much longer to prepare the motion.
However, the most important challenge on that day was the time limit for each speaker: 90 seconds each. It was petrifying, practising and practising again; trying to fit all topics into one section for each speaker. It taught me to build a good structure, something I have always struggled with in my past experiences of debating. Due to this, I was able to refer to my script bit by bit, soon abandoning it when I got into a flow. My teammates were lovely, supporting one another from the sidelines and were extremely excited to learn alongside me, never once judging another for making a mistake which may come naturally to another. As Miss Nina had said, “It’s a safe space” and it was most definitely the perfect place to grow.
“I was extremely excited when I learnt that Mr. Tony Pua was going to be our facilitator during the workshop. He guided us in preparing for a debate on the motion “THBT referendums are anti-democratic” where we would serve as the opposition bench. One pivotal tip he pointed out was that the opposition had a far easier task, we simply had to prove referendums were NOT anti-democratic, pushing the burden of proof onto the proposition to demonstrate that referendums are anti-democratic.
With his guidance, our team was proud to have won the debate with a sweeping majority of the audience voting against the motion. Personally, I was honoured to receive the best speaker award. I believe one of Tony’s tips really helped me to win this accolade; he said that, as the closing speaker, I should focus on proving why all the proposition’s arguments didn’t make sense which meant that our argument won, instead of trying to just assert that our argument was better.
I am extremely grateful for Mr Tapp and Mr Jones for taking us to KTJ and giving us the opportunity to participate at the KTJ Oxbridge forum.”