12 January 2009 Dear Father Pathickal Congratulations!

I am delighted to inform you that your school has successfully qualified for the National Finals of the Debating Matters India competition. The National Finals will be held in the British Council New Delhi office from 15-17 January 2009. For more information regarding the National Finals kindly refer the attached timetable regarding the timings of the pre debate programmes and the debate timings. The National Finals will have the eight winning teams from different regions divided in groups of two, who in turn are placed in subcategories of the same group thereby having two teams in each sub group. Each school will participate in the preliminary debate which is the first round of the National Finals. The topic for your school is “Free speech is not an absolute right” the debate team will have to speak “for” the motion. Following the preliminary round the teams will move on to the Semi Final debates where the sub group winners will debate each. The semi final winner of one group will then compete with the semi final winner of the other group in the finals of the National finals for bagging the India Champions position. The India champions will travel to UK to participate in the Debating Matters UK Finals in the month of July, 2009 Following the regional finals we would like to offer the Finalists some tips of our own:•

Go through your speeches before the debates and work as a team :decide upon a clear division of labour between speakers, setting out who will be dealing with which aspects of the debate. Your argument will be more effective if it is consistent with your partners! It was also noted that students sometimes failed to act as a team, with one speaker dominating the discussion. Debates work best when teams have a coordinated response and balance content between one another. Listen to one another: - all of the teams reported that debaters, and the audience, often failed to listen to one another during the debates and therefore sometimes missed some of the key arguments. Taking the debate seriously means listening, and then responding, to the comments offered by the judges to both sides, by challenges laid out by your opponents and the audience. Consider the Political and Social context of each of the debate: - all of the Regional teams reported that some of discussions tended to get bogged down by the more technical aspects of the debate. All of the Debating Matters motions are chosen because they reflect arguments that are being had in the real world, you must therefore make sure that you are familiar with the contemporary nature of the discussion (read newspapers!) and understand why it is politically significant.

The debate coordinator accompanying the school should note that if disciplinary issues arise related to students from their schools, the teacher coordinators will have to deal with the issue directly and promptly. We had mentioned in the terms and condition form that the duty of care of the students rests firmly on the teacher coordinator. Should any disciplinary issues arise related to students from your schools, the teacher coordinators will have to deal with the issue directly and promptly. Accommodation has been booked for schools at the Hotel Vikram, (Ring Road, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi 110 024, Phone: 91-46515151, http://www.hotelvikram.com/) from 15 January - 17 January 2009 on a twin sharing basis for students and single occupancy basis for teacher coordinators We wish the schools travelling for the National finals to New Delhi a safe journey. Warm wishes and regards Dr Debanjan Chakrabarti Head Intercultural Dialogue (India) British Council

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