There are many opportunities for students to be involved in public speaking and debating. Every year the College is offered places in many local, State and National competitions which have a strong public speaking component; including the Lions Youth of the Year Competition and the AB Paterson Public Speaking Competition.
Many of these competitions also require students to have a considerable knowledge of and interest in current affairs and to be able to demonstrate their involvement in a wide range of school and community activities. Many competitions include an interview with a judging panel and students are often required to present both prepared and impromptu speeches. Winners of these competitions can proceed through local, regional, State and National levels. Students taking part in these competitions gain much from the experience and meet many other students and members of the community.
The overall co-ordination of these competitions is conducted by the Debating/Public Speaking Co-ordinator and includes the organisation and allocation of places in various heats. Other staff assist, and will advise details of upcoming competitions, closing dates for entries and distribution of entry forms in the Daily Bulletin and the College Newsletter.
The closing dates for entry into many of these competitions is often very early in the year, in some cases at least one month before the actual date of the heats. Students who are interested should contact the Debating/Public Speaking Co-ordinator to ensure they are registered as entrants as early in the year as possible. Students should be prepared to spend time in preparation for these activities and teachers will give guidance in a number of different ways.
Public Speaking – Intra-School
Somerset College has a rich history in Debating and Public Speaking competitions. The Public Speaking Competition involves students from Years 4 to 7 participating in the competition with experienced Senior debaters and public speakers acting as officials and adjudicators. The Public Speaking Competition is conducted in Term Three or Four for the Junior School. This evening event is designed for maximum participation. The standard in this competition is high but it is hoped that as many students as possible will participate. These activities are valuable learning experiences and most certainly develop competency in communication and logical thought.
Debating – Inter-School
Somerset enters debating teams from each Year Level in the Gold Coast Debating Association competition. Each team has a coach who helps students with method and presentation and discusses ideas. Students are expected to spend time on discussion of their case and preparation of their material. This is usually done in school lunch hours and sometimes after school. It is not necessary to have had experience to be interested in a position on a team. Teachers with junior teams try to provide opportunities for as many students as possible. Top senior teams, however, are usually comprised of students with experience.
Gold Coast LOTE Speech Contest
The Gold Coast LOTE Speech Contest gives students the opportunity to speak a language other than English in a competitive environment. There are divisions for primary and secondary students in a vast array of chosen languages.
Mooting is presenting a legal argument in front of a judge or judges. There are four speakers, known as barristers. Two barristers argue for the person who took the case to court. The other two barristers argue for the person who has been taken to court. Each team is given a brief outline of the facts, and a statement about what each side claims happened.
The judge has to decide which side's argument is correct. He/she has to apply the law from past decisions, called precedents. Each mooting team must read those past cases and work out arguments to show why these cases should or should not be applied in the present situation. As they speak, the judge can interrupt to ask questions.
They must answer these questions, to the best of their ability. They are marked on how well they speak and how well they answer questions. The judge also evaluates the legal argument presented. There are two levels of involvement in mooting at Somerset.
Firstly, any students in Year 11 or 12 Legal Studies can enter the Intra-School competition in Term One. The winning team, the three best speakers (mooters), will then take part in the Bond University Inter-School Mooting Competition. This is an Australia wide competition taking place during Term Two. The winning team is awarded the trophy. The best oralist receives a half scholarship to Bond University Law School.
Year 11 Legal Studies students also have the opportunity to compete in the Beenleigh/Logan District Mooting Competition and the Griffith University Mooting Competition.