• Hawke’s Bay intermediate students talk the talk as part of radio debating competition

Hawke’s Bay intermediate students talk the talk as part of radio debating competition

They may still be in intermediate, but a group of young students from around the region have gotten behind the microphone and are talking the talk as part of a radio debating competition.

Talk-The-Talk Intermediate Schools Debates Challenge, held by Radio Kidnappers, has been running since 2002 and is a contest run where teams debate moots of interest and relevance to Year 7 and 8 students. 

Thirteen teams from seven schools have been competing in the challenge since May, with the hope of making the final next month.
Radio Kidnappers Station Manager Jill Miller said the aim is to foster public speaking and radio skills in a professionally adjudicated debating forum, while all the time still being fun and entertaining.

“They do get really good by-in from the schools and it does get some younger kids in through here and it’s amazing how when you talk to people in the community just how many people either took part in the debates or knew someone who took part in the debates.”

Jill says students’ confidence builds as they progress through the rounds.

“You do notice that for the first debate they are really nervous and either speed through their speech or make a lot of pauses and they seem to be like a rabbit in the headlights.

“But then the second one they’re way more relaxed and if they make it into the semi-finals or final, they’re so confident and not even scared of the microphone.”

Teams are given general feedback, and then each student is given individual feedback when the mics are turned off.

Jill says it is interesting to see how the scores go up the second time, especially if they take on board the feedback they are given.

The adjudicator, who selected the moots, is Year 13 Woodford House student Isobel. Jill says it is the first time this has been done, and they have found they are more relevant to the intermediate age group.

Moots have included celebrities running for political positions, the Covid-19 vaccine, the Napier-Taupo road speed and the rise of child beauty pageants, among others.

Debates are marked using the Russell McVeagh NZ Schools Debating Championships Marking Guidelines, which assesses style, content, strategy, and points of interest, as well as the quality of rebuttal and other standard debating criteria.

However, as this system is designed for senior students and adults a few allowances are made during the debates.

The first semi-final will go to air on Monday, July 5, before the grand final on July 12. With four debates still left in the second round, the Havelock North Intermediate Opinionators are in the lead with 536.5 followed closely by The Woodford Opinionaters on 534 points.

To listen to the debates, visit: https://www.radiokidnappers.org.nz/Programmes/Details.aspx?PID=95c9f5b7-9bf1-4736-9d62-413b3db422a6