N. Ireland A-level Language Debates

Northern Ireland A-level Language Debates

NICILT plays an important role in running the annual French, German, and  Spanish competitions.

The Irish Public Speaking competition is run by Gael Linn and supported by NICILT.

Format

Please read the following information carefully:

  1. Up to 8 teams will take part and each school will debate against one other school and there will be a different motion for each debate. This is to encourage creativity and challenge and to prevent repetition of ideas. The topics of each debate are based around AS contexts so are accessible to both AS and A2 students. Motions and stances for the debates will be provided 2 weeks in advance of the event and will be sent to the teacher by email.
  2. Teams should consist of three pupils, from AS and/or A2. A substitute team member should also be present on the day and be prepared to take part on the day of the competition, in case of absence of a team member. Please note that judges are not made aware what level (AS or A2) a speaker may be.
  3. Each team member should prepare a debate speech of 3 minutes and not more than 3 minutes 30 seconds. Three points will be deducted for every 10 second interval over 3 minutes 30 seconds. A bell will sound after two minutes and again after 3 minutes.
  4. Each team member will stand to give their speech. Cue-cards may be used. Speeches should not be read out. Team members who read their speech will receive fewer marks for Communication Skills (see below).
  5. Speakers 2 and 3 can pick up bonus points by commenting briefly on the opposing team’s previous speaker’s speech. They should plan timing carefully to allow for this.
  6. At the start of the debate, each team captain will introduce team members by name. They will briefly outline each aspect / angle from which each member will argue and then go on to make his / her own points.
  7. All speeches should open with a formal acknowledgement of the judges and the polite 'you' form should be used throughout the whole debate. The target language must be used throughout the whole debate, including for proverbs and quotations. If official names of companies, buildings, programmes etc are to be included in speeches, these may be left in the original language.
  8. Team captain must, in addition to their opening speech, summarise in 2 minutes their team’s defence and contradict the opposing team’s arguments at the end of the debate. There will be three minutes allocated before this for captains to discuss their summaries with their team-mates and plan their speech.
  9. All teams will be judged by the same panel of at least three independent judges. Judges will adjudicate using a set mark scheme, which is based on the following aspects of language:

                  - Content & Knowledge (20 marks)    

                  - Range & Accuracy (10 marks)    

                  - Pronunciation & Intonation (10 marks)

                  - Communication Skills & Fluency (10 marks)

                  - Other marks will be awarded based on speakers' comments on their opponents' stances (5 marks) and team captains' final summaries (20 marks).

For the full break down of the mark scheme please click here.

There will be prizes awarded to the best speaker of each debate, the runners’ up team, and 1st prize will go to the winning team with the highest cumulative score.

More information about WHO can take part is below.

Please be aware that pupils and teachers will be photographed on the day and photos might be used on NICILT social media or website.

N. Ireland French Debates 2017 at Queen's University Belfast.

N. Ireland Spanish Debates 2017 at Queen's University Belfast.

Who can take part in the Debates?

Pupils at school studying AS or A2 French, Spanish or German

Teams consist of pupils from AS and/or A2. Mother tongue speakers, defined as having a parent and/or having lived continuously in a target-language country or community for 3 months or more, are not permitted to take part. The discretion of teachers should be used and the competition relies on their professional integrity in selecting team members.

What are the benefits?

Gain more skills

Enhanced linguistic and social skills, confidence and public-speaking experience. Focus on giving opinions and justifications- both relevant to A-level study, Higher Education and employment. More opportunities to meet and compete with others from across Northern Ireland on topics of relevance to A-level language studies.

PUPIL VOICE

What do participants think?

Jonathan Boyd (Team Captain) and Cavan Boyd (winner of Best Speaker), from Antrim Grammar School, give their perspective:-

“Participation in this year’s A-Level French Debates allowed us to develop our confidence speaking in public, as well as our ability to speak spontaneously. This will be of great use to us in our A-Level speaking exams and further studies at university.  While preparing for the debate we also realised how quickly we were improving our French as we had to work on it so intensively. Even before this, we had set up a French debating club in school, in anticipation of the competition and met every week.  This also helped improve our oral fluency and confidence.

We have also noticed how our participation and winning the NICILT Cup has inspired other students, particularly younger ones, to get involved in the extra-curricular language activities in school and it has raised the profile of French in the school.  We hope it has encouraged them to aim high and know that they too can achieve in French.  Overall, it was a very worthwhile activity and we would encourage others to take part in the future.”

 

French

Français

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Spanish

Español

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German

Deutsch

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Irish

Gaeilge

More information

LATEST NEWS

FRENCH

The 2017/18 competition was supported by the Cercle Français de Belfast and Queen’s University Belfast. 

This was a one-day event and consisted of 5 debates, each with a separate motion. Winners of each debate were decided by a points system and the overall winners and runners'-up were the 2 top-scoring teams. Best speakers were also chosen from each debate.

‌This event was supported by-

Eighteen schools entered to take part and ten were chosen in a live draw in December. The ten schools who took part in the 2017/18 French competition included Friends' School Lisburn, Omagh Academy, Our Lady and St Patrick's College Knock, Portadown College, Rathmore Grammar School, Royal School Dungannon, St Killian's College, St Patrick's Grammar School, Thornhill College and Wallace High School.

The event took place in March and was held in the South Dining Hall at QUB. Judges on the day were Dr. Aurelie Joubert (QUB), Mr. Thomas Murray (QUB), and Mme. Claudine McKeown (Cercle Français de Belfast).

The judges were very impressed by the knowledge and language ability demonstrated by this year’s speakers.

Omagh Academy won the competition and took home the ‘Cercle Français de Belfast’ shield. The team successfully challenged the motion that ‘Social Networks have a negative effect on the lives of young people”.

The team from Omagh Academy with their teacher, Louisa Gibson (NICILT Manager), the judges and Jim Holland from the Cercle Français de Belfast.

Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock were the runners-up and took home the ‘NICILT Cup’. 

The team from Our Lady and St Patricks College Knock with their teacher, Louisa Gibson (NICILT Manager), the judges and Jim Holland from the Cercle Français de Belfast.

Best Speakers of the competition were Rachel Horner (Rathmore Grammar School); Eimear Mullan (St Killian’s College); Rory McGuirk (Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock); Faith Sproule (Omagh Academy) and Sara Martins (Portadown College).

 

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SPANISH

The 2017/18 competition was supported by the Consejería de Educación en Gran Bretaña and Queen’s University Belfast.

The event was a one-day event consisting of 5 debates. Winners of each debate were based on a points system and the overall winners and runners'-up will be the 2 top-scoring teams. Best speakers were also chosen from each debate.

This event is supported by-

Ten schools took part: Antrim Grammar School, Belfast Royal Academy, Lumen Christi College, Rathmore Grammar School, Ballyclare High School, Omagh Academy, St Columb's College, Our Lady's Grammar School, Methodist College Belfast and St Malachy's College.

The judges were impressed by the participants’ excellent pronunciation and the well-reasoned arguments forwarded by the teams in each debate.

The winning team came from Methodist College Belfast, who won the ‘NICILT Cup’ by challenging the motion that ‘Young people have to take too many exams and already suffer from stress.’

The winning team from Methodist College Belfast, with their Spanish Language Assistant the three judges and Louisa Gibson, NICILT Manager.

The runners-up team came from Lumen Christi College, came runners-up.

The team from Lumen Christi College, with their teacher, Mr Donal Begley, the three judges and Louisa Gibson, NICILT Manager

Best Speaker Awards went to Caitlin O' Neill (Rathmore Grammar School), Beth Vance (Antrim Grammar School), Neha Iyer (Methodist College Belfast), Cait Grant (Lumen Christi College) and Ronan Foley (St. Columb's College).

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GERMAN

The 2017/18 competition was supported by Queen’s University Belfast.

The event was a one-day event consisting of 4 debates. Winners of each debate were based on a points system and the overall winners and runners'-up were the 2 top-scoring teams. Best speakers were also chosen from each debate.

Eight schools took part in the 2017/18 German competition: Ballyclare High School, Belfast Royal Academy, Campbell College, Friends’ School Lisburn, Methodist College Belfast, Rathmore Grammar, Strathearn School and Wallace High School.

Judges on the day were Barbara Boyle (QUB), Dirk Schubotz (QUB) and Angela Vaupel (St. Mary's UC Belfast & Honorary Consul of Germany to N. Ireland).

This year’s teams fought a close race and the judges were very impressed by the high level of German demonstrated by the speakers. 

Methodist College Belfast came first and won the ‘NICILT Cup’ by defending the motion ‘Homework should be abolished’

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The winning team from Methodist College Belfast, with the judges and their Language Assistant. 

 

The runners-up team were from Rathmore Grammar School.

The team from Rathmore Grammar School.

Best Speaker Awards went to Michael Kelly (Rathmore Grammar School), Sam Corrigan (Campbell College), Ryan Simpson (Wallace High School) and Pippa Dugan (Friends' School, Lisburn).

‌NICILT would like to thank the German Embassy London for providing prizes for all the winning pupils.

 

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FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS YEAR'S COMPETITIONS VISIT THE NICILT FACEBOOK PAGE HERE!

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IRISH

The Abair is a public speaking competition for pupils studying for GCSE and A-level Irish. It is co-ordinated by Gael Linn and supported by NICILT.

Students choose their own topics and are awarded marks for delivery, quality of ideas conveyed and fluency in Irish.

Preliminary heats are held in early spring before the regional final which takes place at Easter.

Abair is an excellent way to prepare for GCSE and A-Level Irish oral examinations. 

Full details are available on the Gael Linn website here.

 

2017

Competitions in 4 Languages