2004 Adjudicator Training

At the end of the 2003 season we put out the call for 50 new adjudicators by 2004. With the help of UniBooks we put up posters, sent emails and made many phone calls to spread the word about our need for adjudicators. As you will notice when the season starts, we got the message across. We have interviewed more than forty potential adjudicators – ranging from High School and Uni students with debating experience to people who have never even seen a debate!
The process of sorting through applications and finding people who we think will make excellent adjudicators has been time-consuming, but also extremely worthwhile. We now have over 15 new peer adjudicators and numerous groups of senior adjudicators currently completing their training.

Consistency among adjudicators is very important and in order to ensure that all Debating SA adjudicators are doing their job, we need to offer them a clear and helpful training course. So, above and beyond finding people who wanted to become adjudicators, we also decided to re-write our adjudicator training course.

This means that each and every adjudicator that you will encounter this year will have undertaken hours of theoretical and practical training. This will be obvious not only in the decisions they make, but also in the quality of the feedback that adjudicators offer to all debaters.

We are really excited about this positive change in 2004 and we hope you will really notice the difference.

We are lucky at Debating SA to have such a broad range of people who are our adjudicators. It allows us to give our students the best feedback available on their performance.
As part of our endeavours to provide the best and widest range of adjudicators possible, we have developed and implemented a Peer Adjudicator Training Scheme for senior secondary students who show leadership potential.The Peer Adjudicator Scheme has been developed to encourage leadership skills and community spirit in young adults. Peer Adjudicators volunteer their time to help with the many training days held by the Association for younger students during the year. They go on to judge many debates held during the season and, as part of their role, give advice to young students in a supportive and constructive manner.

Apart from having fun and providing Debating SA with a valuable service, Peer Adjudicators also find that adjudicator training helps enormously with their own debating skills. During the Finals Series each year we regularly find that many of the teams are made up, either wholly or in part, by Peer Adjudicators. This is certainly no coincidence. Peer Adjudicators learn in intimate detail the wide range of things that adjudicators expect from debaters, and they are then able to use this information to augment their own debating knowledge.

The Peer Adjudicator Scheme is open to all current year 10, 11 and 12 students simply by completing the appropriate application form. Along with these rising stars, we also like to balance our competition with maturity by inviting teachers, parents and prominent members of the community to join our ranks of adjudicators.

Both Peer and Senior Adjudicators alike agree that adjudicating is an immensely fulfilling and worthwhile activity. It allows them to give something back to the community while making new friends and having a great time. Adjudication also helps to develop leadership, decision-making, communication and conflict-resolution skills – all of which are abilities that relate closely to many other areas of real-world life.

If all this sounds interesting and you would like more information, please contact our operations team (enquiries@debatingsa.com.au) to find out more about this exciting opportunity.

One of our new adjudicators Sean reports on his experience during Adjudicator training
During the first week of the December holidays, I was privileged enough to have attended an adjudicator training course for Debating SA. This allows me to adjudicate debates, at an intermediate level, as well as greatly improve my own debating skills. The course was extremely enjoyable, and was an opportunity to learn how to watch a debate from an adjudicator’s perspective, as well as further expand upon my own personal debating techniques

I am looking very forward to putting the skills that I have learnt into practise, and passing on the knowledge that I have acquired over the extensive course, combined with the debating experience that I have acquired over the past seven years, to young future debaters as an adjudicator. I believe that the peer adjudicator program is very beneficial in allowing younger debaters to gain assistance with their debating and collect constructive critique that they are then able to use to further their own skills and performances.

The course, while being a lot of work, will benefit me in a wide number of ways. It has given me valuable insight into exactly what it is that adjudicators look for in a debate, and as such will greatly change the way that I go about my debating. The adjudication course contained 14 90-minute modules, 2 of which were assessment based, where we were required to present a critique of approximately 10 minutes to a video camera for later assessment and certification. Other modules included an in-depth look at definition debates, as well as some of the lesser-known debating methods such as the hung case. The course is also a great chance to meet new people and to get involved in the debating community.

Overall, I would greatly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in debating and would like to share their experience and knowledge of the art with younger debaters. It is a wonderful opportunity to extend your personal debating skills, as well as use your own skills to extend those of others.

– Sean Jolly