Political strategists (or Zongheng Jia in Chinese), who “had a big picture of the situation, excelled at debate, had wisdom and courage, and were good at making decisions”, played an important historical role during the Warring States period more than 2,000 years ago. On April 28-29, 2018, two Beijing Kaiwen Academy (KWA) debating teams participated in preliminary and quarter finals of the “Zongheng Cup” (4th Asian Cup) Secondary School Chinese Debate Competition. Tsinghua International School (THIS) and the “Zongheng Cup” Debate Competition Organizing Committee jointly organized the event. KWA teams and 16 other teams from 11 international schools attended the competition. In the end, KWA debate teams won runner-up of the competition and were invited to observe the finals to be held in Hong Kong.
The “Zongheng Cup” is the largest and highest-level secondary school debate competition in Asia. All of the judges are senior debate education experts from home and abroad. This year, the competition attracted schools from Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia.
The budding KWA debate teams consisted of eight Grade 7-9 students. It was the first time for many of the students to attend a debate competition of this scale. Under the orderly organization and patient instruction of KWA secondary school Chinese teachers, the students received debate training from professional debate instructors every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
They learned to analyze and summarize opponents’ arguments at the training sessions. They watched debate videos and collected argument information during their spare time. After nearly a month’s training, the students seemed to have gotten the hang of debate. The teachers organized simulated competitions to help students adapt to the rhythm of the competition as soon as possible. After several such simulated competitions, the students became more logical in their thinking and quicker to react on site.
The two-day competition had a tight schedule. Regardless of the difficulties, KWA students forged ahead. They attended four competitions on Day 1 and six on Day 2. In the last two hours, the competition was not just a competition of ability, but more of a competition of knowledge foundation and endurance.
“The biggest difficulty we encountered during our preparations for the debate was to find, screen, and integrate information. At first, we were really at a loss when we faced such a vast amount of information. We must thank our teachers and parents for their advice and help to improve our efficiency,” said the three small debaters from the seventh grade. To help the students better understand debate topics relating to artificial intelligence, Beihang University Professor Ms. Li Huan, mother of the debater You Shufan, came to KWA to share her knowledge of artificial intelligence with the students.
After the competition, the students said they were very happy about preparing for the debate and acquired a lot of extracurricular knowledge in the process. In the future, KWA Chinese Group will organize a formal debate club to teach students basic debate knowledge, improve their ability to organize language and integrate data, and train their fighting spirit and teamwork awareness, so that they can become fearless, outstanding debaters.