Winning team has a good strategy and are more united, writes Wong Yat-hei
St Paul's Convent School
Excellent teamwork and research helped Canossa College beat St Paul's Convent School in the first round of the 11th Nesta-SCMP Inter-school Debating Competition.
The motion was 'Celebrity tutors are good value for money', with Canossa being the affirmative side.
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.
Canossa argued that celebrity tutors are well known for their ability to help students get good grades in examinations. This is very important in an exam-oriented education system like Hong Kong, they said.
Canossa's first speaker, Rose Feng, said: 'Students are getting what they want by going to celebrity tutors. They know who the tutors are and they know what they are going to get from them so these tutors are good value for money.'
St Paul's responded by saying that students are too dependent on the tutors to get exam tips. This is not the real objective of education, they stressed. Sneha Singh, St Paul's third speaker, said: 'Celebrity tutors try to guess examination questions and provide students with answers. Learning is not about being able to recite an answer that will score maximum marks. This completely contradicts the philosophy of education.'
Paul McNamara, an English teacher from SKH Tang Shiu Kin Secondary School, was the adjudicator in Tuesday's debate. He said both teams had done a great job with their research and preparation.
'All the speakers were confident and clear with their speeches. A little advice for them is that they should make eye contact with the audience ... not only the adjudicator. The audiences are the people that the speakers want to persuade.'
McNamara said Canossa had a winning edge because they were able to stick to their team strategy and showed more unity. 'The first speaker of Canossa College gave a clear definition of key terms and introduced the team line which was excellent. They were able to ... support their arguments which is a result of good research.'
Despite the loss, St Paul's had reason to celebrate when Sneha was named the best speaker. 'Sneha knew her role as a third speaker very well, and that is to rebut opponents. She wasted no time and came straight away to her rebuttals. Her point on students being dependent on the celebrity tutors is great,' McNamara said.