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.

2017/18

Registration has now closed for the 2018 competitions.

Dates

Spanish - Friday 9th February 2018

German - Tuesday 27th February 2018

French - Thursday 15th March 2018

 

*Latest Updates*

We have now chosen the participating teams for the French and Spanish competitions in our live random draws (view on our Facebook page).

French

This year we can allow 10 teams to compete and the names are below. We will look more closely at the order of each debate to allow sufficient time for schools coming from further away to get to Belfast. The adjusted order will be clarified when teachers receive the email with the motions for the debates on WEDNESDAY 28TH FEBRUARY (2 weeks before the event).

  1. Rathmore Grammar School (FOR) V Thornhill College (AGAINST)         
  2. Ballymena Academy (FOR) V St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Armagh (AGAINST)
  3. Royal School Dungannon (FOR) V Wallace High School (AGAINST)
  4. Friends’ School (FOR) V Omagh Academy (AGAINST)
  5. St. Killian’s College (FOR) V Our Lady and St. Patrick’s College, Knock (AGAINST)

Spanish

This year 10 teams will compete and the names are below. We will look more closely at the order of each debate to allow for schools coming from further away to get to Belfast. The adjusted order will be clarified when you receive the email with the motions for the debates on THURSDAY 25TH JANUARY (2 weeks before the event).

 
1. Omagh Academy (FOR) V Methodist College Belfast (AGAINST)         

2. St. Columb’s College (FOR) V Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry (AGAINST)

3. Rathmore Grammar School (FOR) V Ballyclare High School (AGAINST)

4. Belfast Royal Academy (FOR) V Antrim Grammar School (AGAINST)

5. Lumen Christi College (FOR) V St. Malachy’s College, Belfast (AGAINST)

 

WE HAVE EMAILED THE CHOSEN SCHOOLS AND REQUESTED THAT TEACHERS CONFIRM BY EMAIL THAT THEY ACCEPT THEIR TEAM’S PLACE. PLEASE CONFIRM BEFORE 5PM ON FRIDAY, 15TH DECEMBER.

IF A SCHOOL DOES NOT ACCEPT ITS PLACE BEFORE THIS DATE THE TEAM WILL FORFEIT THEIR PLACE IN THE COMPETITION. THIS PLACE WILL BE OFFERED TO THE REMAINING TEAMS WHOSE NAMES DID NOT GET PICKED. PLACES WILL BE ALLOCATED ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS.

We do apologise that we cannot accommodate all the teams that registered this year and thank you again for registering an interest.

 

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

More news

Spanish

Español

More news

German

Deutsch

More news

Irish

Gaeilge

More information

News from 2016/17

‌FRENCH

The 2016/17 competition was supported by the Cercle Français de Belfast and Queen’s University Belfast.

The event was on one day and consisted 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. Best speakers were also chosen from each debate.

‌This event was supported by-

Seventeen schools entered to take part and eight were chosen in a live draw in December. Eight schools took part in the 2016/17 French competition: Antrim Grammar, Assumption Grammar, Bangor Grammar, Coleraine Grammar, Foyle College, Friends’ School Lisburn, Rainey Endowed School and Wallace High School.

The event in March this year took on the new one-day format, consisting of 4 debates which took took place in the Great Hall, at Queen's University Belfast. Winners of each debate were based on a points system and the overall winners and runners-up were the 2 teams. Best speakers were also chosen from each debate.

Judges on the day were Dr. Maeve McCusker (QUB)a, Mr. Thomas Murray (QUB), and Mr Jim Holland (Cercle Français de Belfast).

The judges were very impressed with the passionate, dynamic debating abilities, the display of collaborative abilities and strong communication skills.

Foyle College won the competition and took home the ‘Cercle Français de Belfast’ shield. The team successfully challenged the motion that ‘Artistic expression should never be prohibited’.

The winning team from Foyle College, with their teacher Mrs Lisa McAuley, their French Language Assistant, and Ms Louisa Gibson, NICILT Manager.

Antrim Grammar School, the runners-up, won the new ‘NICILT Cup’. 

The team from Antrim Grammar School with Mr Ian Collen, NICILT Director.

Best Speakers of the competition were Katie Windrum (Wallace High School); Cavan Boyd (Antrim Grammar); Susanne Marshall (Foyle College); and Rosanna Johnston (Coleraine Grammar).

 

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SPANISH

The 2016/17 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, Bangor Grammar, Belfast High School, Belfast Royal Academy, Friends’ School, Lumen Christi College, Rainey Endowed School, St Columb’s College, St Malachy’s College and Strathearn School. 

Judges on the day were Adolfo Carbón (Consejería in Dublin), Gabriel Sánchez (QUB) and Áine MacParland.

The judges commented on the student’s articulated reasoning and effective public speaking skills with great pronunciation as well as being able to think on their feet.

The winning team came from Lumen Christi College, who won the ‘NICILT Cup’ by challenging the motion that ‘Schools give too many holidays to students during the year that only break the school routine.’

 

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

The team from Antrim Grammar School came Runners-up. 

The team from Antrim Grammar School with the three judges.

Best Speaker prizes went to Beth Vance (Antrim Grammar); Helena Nugent (Rainey Endowed); Hugh O’Hare (St Malachy’s College); Michael McColgan (Lumen Christi College) and Molly Lyness (Belfast High School).

 

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GERMAN

The 2016/17 competition was supported by Queen’s University Belfast.

The event was a one-day event consisting of 3 debates. Winners of each debate were based on a points system and the overall winners and runners'-up were the 2 top-scoring. Best speakers were also chosen from each debate.

Seven schools took part in the 2016/17 German competition: Bloomfield Collegiate, Campbell College, Friends’ School Lisburn, Methodist College Belfast, Rathmore Grammar, St Columb’s College and Strathearn School.

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

The judges praised the student’s daring and creative communication skills, critical thinking and speeches that showed both individuality and effective teamwork. 

Methodist College Belfast came first and won the ‘NICILT Cup’ by challenging the motion that ‘In the 21st century, work commitments push parents further and further away from their children’. 

 

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The team from Methodist College Belfast, with their teacher Miss Olivia Moore.  

The team from Rathmore Grammar School was Runners -Up.

The team from Rathmore Grammar School with Mr Ian Collen, NICILT Director.

Best Speaker Awards went to Calum MacRae, Michael Kelly and Robert Coyle.

‌NICILT would like to thank the Goethe Institut London for providing promotional materials for the teams.

 

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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