WSDC 2002 Singapore, Singapore

14 th World Schools Debating Championship 2002

WSDC 2002 was held in January 20th - February 3rdin Singapore.

Ireland defeated Australia (4-3)
Motion: This House believes that the media has become too powerful.

German team:

Lukas Behr, Wirtemberg-Gymnasium Stuttgart 
Michaela Böttinger, Salier-Gymnasium Waiblingen
Martin Kilgus, Salier-Gymnasium Waiblingen
Johann-Friedrich Fleisch, Wilhelm-Raabe-Schule Hannover
Helene Rädler, Königin-Olga-Stift Stuttgart
Mikko Soiniemi, Wirtemberg-Gymnasium Stuttgart 
Michael Pates


Beginning in November 2001 team Germany prepared for the World Schools Debating Championships in Singapore. At this point in time it was obvious that international debating demands extensive efforts. Four of the eight motions for the preliminary rounds were announced in advance. We did not know, however, whether we'd be on proposition or opposition side. This fact accounted for much work in advance: We had to gather background information for both, the proposition and the opposition side. To do so we often had to go beyond general knowledge.

To prepare the motion "Free trade is the way forward" it was necessary to interpret statistics to find evidence for the advantages of a free trade zone. Specialized literature was read to be able to quote specialists correctly and nights were spent on the internet to include recent information about current affairs.

The prepared information was then combined, structured and refined in countless meetings on weekends in November and during the Christmas holidays.

in a debate
in a debate
All debates at the worlds are being evaluated by experienced judges. Therefore we started at a very early stage to adapt our speeches to the official evaluation criteria. Over 50 per cent of the credit for a speech is awarded for strategy and style. Things the judges look at are quality of the presentation, structure of the speech and the integrity of the team's team line.
That's why we prepared all speeches in advance, tested them in "test debates" and finally refined the speeches where necessary. During those debates we also had the chance to practice thinking on our feet. This is a very important aspect, because the opposing team is allowed to interrupt a speaker with so called points of information. Linguistic refinements - if at all necessary - were also possible, because all debates were held in English, just like the debates at the world championships.
exchange with Singaporeans

In Singapore itself we experienced one highlight after another. Ranging from the luxurious hotel we all stayed in to the brilliant programme for the evenings everything fit. Representatives of different areas of politics and economy like Singapore's minister for education and Singapore's Minister of State ensured a unique program that was enhanced by presentations of local and Asian culture.

exchange with Singaporeans
An evening in the Hard Rock Café and a city tour rounded the entertainment programme off. In the evenings we got to know Asia's exquisite kitchen and soon got to like it.

During the debates themselves it was pure joy to get the chance to use the English language in a forceful and efficient way beyond classes at school. The planned structure of the speeches and the team line could now be tested in a competitive environment. For all Teams it was important to distinguish strictly between competition and community. No matter how hard the teams fought in the debates, there was no question about joint activities in the evenings.

Luckily we had enough time between the debates and in the evenings to get to know each other and to exchange ideas.

Having spent two exciting weeks in Singapore we all returned to Germany full of inspiration and new experience.

Three core aspects were essential to this positive experience:

Singapur - financial district

Singapur - financial district
First there was the vivid exchange and solidarity among all debaters. No one was excluded due to bad results in the debates. Debaters supported each other and gave moral support to the needy. Like this we could return home with a number of new friends around the world.

Secondly, there was the eye-opening contact to foreign cultures. We got to know different world-views and ways of thinking. This will certainly help us to better find our way in this internationalized world and to be more open towards others.

Thirdly we could have important experiences during the debates and the preparation time for those. When preparing the debates, we had to develop and use techniques to gather information efficiently. During the debates we practiced formulating efficiently and to think logically. We also had the opportunity to refine our rhetoric abilities and to react quickly to unforeseeable interruptions in points of information. Almost as a side effect our knowledge of the English language improved more and more.


During those two weeks we could have experiences that will not only help us in out further education but also in our future jobs.

author: Martin