Every year, when possible, a team is entered to take part in the Association of Teachers of Spanish (“ATS”) debating competition. The debates officially start in October however we normally host auditions for it in September and then start to get the team ready for the structure of the competition. Students of Spanish in 5th and 6th year are welcome to participate and for those who do not make the team they are still most welcome to assist the team in preparing their debates.
The debates are usually held on Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 6pm in various schools and the final is held in the Instituto Cervantes.
The debate topics are similar to issues that will come up in the Leaving Certificate Spanish exam and they reflect current issues in society. Recent topics have been ‘Esta casa da la bienvenida a la elección de Trump como el nuevo presidente’ (This house welcomes Trump as the new president) and ‘Esta casa cree que se debería poder votar con 16 años’ (This house believes that 16 year olds should be allowed vote).
Of course there are many benefits to participating in debating. It greatly improves students’ oral fluency and ability to respond to questions without hesitation. It improves students’ written work and vocabulary and current issues. It enables the students to put in practice their Spanish whilst having fun and learning new skills. All previous debaters have a seen a huge improvement in their Spanish through participation.
In previous years Loreto College has performed exceptionally well in the competition, reaching the final of the Cup in 2016, 2017 and the semi-final in 2018. Many of our students have won the prize of ‘Mejor Orador’, Best Speaker in the debates. This is a reflection of their dedication and hard-work.
In April 2023, the ATS ran a Spanish debating blitz. Four of our 5th year students debated and won their debate on the night.