4. I heard about something called a point-of-information or POI. Will we have those at our event?
Points-of-information (POIs) are questions or statements that debaters are allowed to offer a speaker who is currently giving his or her speech. One can offer a POI by raising his or her hand and standing up. Then, a speaker may accept or decline POIs by audibly responding to the offer or by waving the offer down. If the speaker accepts a POI, then the person who raised his hand may ask a question to the speaker. The clock is paused while the question is being asked. The clock will start again as soon as the speaker begins responding to the question.
5. What if I don’t know enough about a topic?
Half of the preliminary debates will use prepared motions. This means that you will have more than enough time to print material and research for your speeches in advance. The other half of the debates will be impromptu motions. They will be easy to understand and will not require any specific knowledge to debate about.
But, good debaters should know that the standard in debates is to be an informed global citizen – that means that one should know the headlining news happening in one’s country and in the world at large. Debaters should know a little about everything and something about almost anything!
6. How will the judge pick a winner in a debate? What do we need to do to win?
Judges will award (1) tournament wins and (2) speaker points during each round. Tournament wins are given on the basis of one’s arguments and rebuttals and their role in the issues that arise in the debate. Simply put, judges will come into a debate waiting to be persuaded to believe in a team’s perspective on the motion assigned. They will believe and reward the team that can logically explain and provide evidence for the merits of their side of the motion.
Speaker points are holistic markers. This means that a judge will evaluate a debater’s style (presentation, confidence, clarity), substance (logic, evidence, impact), and strategy (role fulfillment, team dynamics). Our judges will be marking you according to standard scoring from the World Universities Debating Championship (50-100). An average speech at a regular high school tournament would range between 73-74 for G7-9 and 69-71 for G5-6.
7. When you will release the motion?
There will be two prepared rounds and two impromptu rounds for the preliminary stage. The Grand Finals motions will also be prepared. A total of 3 motions will be released to you once you have registered and settled the payment. You are then allowed to do all the research and preparation that you want.
8. How do I prepare for the impromptu debates? What can I bring into the room with me?
For prepared and impromptu debates, all printed material is fair game to bring and use during the round. Debaters are also allowed to use an electronic translator if they speak English-as-a-Second Language and a timer to keep track of their speeches.
The 30-minute period for you to prepare for the impromptu debates is meant for you and your partner to cover all your roles as seen above and to write out your individual points for the debate. The best way to get ready is to practice debating with this format at school or with friends. Being familiar with the time turns and the 5-minute speaking length will be a lot of help!
9. I am not as confident in my command of English. How will that affect me in the tournament?
No one at this tournament will win a debate on the strength of grammar alone! This competition is about your ideas and your ability to justify what your team believes in. Your command of English will definitely improve through debating, and a grasp of language enough to express your thoughts will be necessary. But, this is not a competition which will be judged on the merits of style, accent, or English grammar alone.
10. I am in 7th Grade. Which division should I compete in?
We offer 7th graders the chance to compete in either of the divisions. However, there are some guiding rules you should keep in mind:
a) 7th graders are encouraged to pair with someone older or younger with them and compete in the division that the other teammate would qualify for.
b) Please try to be honest in picking the right challenge for you. If you feel you are a strong debater or have been in other debates before, please compete in the Gr. 7-9 division. If this is your very first debate or you want to use the event to develop your confidence in debate, try the Gr. 5-7 division.
11. Will we get food?
Capstone will provide snacks and lunch for participants, but dinner is free and easy. Bring enough water as debating, like other competitive sports, will require hydration! Note that Capstone will have a water tank for refilling your water bottle as needed.
12. How am I expected to dress and behave?
All participants must dress in formal wear. Students are allowed to dress in their school uniform. Inappropriate attire such sandals, slippers and graphic t-shirts are not allowed.
Students are also expected to behave appropriately during the duration of the tournament and during their speeches. Any behavior that is deemed to be inappropriate, abusive and hateful will not be allowed. Inappropriate action includes but are not limited to harassing another student, Capstone staff or the judge, making racist or sexist remarks and making suggestive and inappropriate remarks to another student, Capstone staff or the judge. Because this tournament is a learning platform, Capstone will not tolerate such behavior and reserves the right to remove said student from the tournament upon discovery of such action. Any fees paid will not be reimbursed in the event that this happens.
13. What if my question is not answered here?
If you have other questions about the coming tournament, feel free to ask our point persons by e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Logistical Inquiries – English or Putonghua)
email@example.com (Motion or Debate Format Inquiries)