‘Debate Competition’- English Speaking Union

A great afternoon at the British Council

On the 17th of January, we had the great opportunity to participate in the debating competition, promoted by the English Speaking Union, which took place at the British Council.

Who were we? 

11ºG: Isabel Ruivo and Mafalda Neves

11ºB: Afonso Hermida, Ana Silva, David Lopes, Madalena Cerqueira, Tânia Machado and Vasco Breitenfeld.

It all started with an invitation from our English teacher. First, we had to attend a workshop which was given by André Gonçalves, a prestigious member of SDAL (Sociedade de Debates Académicos de Lisboa), and Dr. Rosa Walpole, outstanding member of the English Speaking Union Portugal, who taught us what debating was, its rules and some useful tips to use in the competition. In the end of the workshop, we were invited to debate for the first time against the other students who also wanted to participate.

Two weeks later, on a Sunday morning, we went to the  British Council and we were greeted with some coffee and cookies. When all the other schools arrived, we had a workshop until lunch time given by Ary Cunha, a well-known speaker in the international debating competitions, who also reminded us of the rules and techniques used in debates.

After lunch, the competition started. After knowing the motion (the debate’s theme), each pair was sent to a small room, where there were other three teams and four adjudicators.

11ºG: Mafalda Neves and Isabel Ruivo



After winning the three rounds, our classifications allowed us to participate in the final, along with two teams from Oeiras International School and one team from St. Julian’s. The final took place in the British Council’s main room where, along with the finalists, were the other contestants, teachers, members of the English Speaking Union and the British Council, and all the adjudicators.

We were all competing to win a trip to the Netherlands, where the international debating competition was going to happen. In the end, we didn’t win the trip but we met new people and we were very grateful for that wonderful experience, which was the first step into the debating world.

Isabel Carloto Ruivo and Mafalda Neves