With their strong rebuttals and clear definitions, Po Leung Kuk Wu Chung College (PLK) edged out St Rose of Lima’s College in the first round of the 11th Nesta-SCMP Inter-school Debating Competition.
The contest, jointly organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers’ Association and the South China Morning Post, is sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
The debate took place on March 29 at St Rose of Lima’s College. The motion was 'Celebrity tutors are good value for money', with PLK being the affirmative side.
The adjudicator Ilona Pochwyt, an English teacher at Pentecostal Lam Hon Kwong School, gave the edge to PLK because of its stronger rebuttals. 'It was a close debate throughout with both teams rebutting back and forth on the pros and cons of celebrity tutors,' she said. 'Lawrence Lam, the third speaker from the affirmative side, did an excellent job of putting the case of his team together and was able to rebut very well the points from his opponents.'
PLK started off strongly with the definition of key terms such as 'celebrity tutors' and 'good value for money' which impressed the adjudicator. 'The affirmative side did a good job defining the terms which helped them present their case nicely,' said Pochwyt.
She praised PLK’s first speaker, Arthur Lam, for his new insights on the issue. Lam made use of the economic principle – competition brings improvement – to convince the audience that celebrity tutors are good value for money. They are the final products that had gone through fierce market competition, Arthur stressed.
Pochwyt said all the debaters had done extensive research on the topic. 'I myself have read quite a lot on this topic and I have gained something new from this debate as well. This shows the students had put in a lot of hard work on their research.'
Both teams debated fiercely whether celebrity tutors could help students with their studies or not. PLK suggested celebrity tutors can provide valuable tips to students to help them tackle examination questions. But St Rose of Lima’s argued that each tutor had to handle a large number of students during a lesson. Hence, students could not ask questions and teachers were unable to fulfil the learning needs of individual students, they said.
PLK raised another interesting point which local educators could think about. They said school teachers had to deal with a lot of issues, such as education reforms and organising extra-curricular activities for their students. With these extra responsibilities, they had no time to help students prepare for examinations, PLK added.