Stop rebutting yourself! - primary debating – 4. Ainsley Halbmeijer

Duration: 11:01

Ainsley Halbmeijer travels back in time to rebut her 2007 speech from the Primary Schools State Debating Championships.

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Transcript – Stop rebutting yourself! - primary debating – 4. Ainsley Halbmeijer

[swishing noise]

[musical jingle]

TONY DAVEY: Excellent! Hey, Ainsley! How's it going!


TONY DAVEY: Yeah-- excellent. Thanks for coming along today. So you are well. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself? What are you up to in Debating Land-- slash-- your life?

AINSLEY HALBMEIJER: Well, I have been a debater since very young in primary school-- debated all through high school as well. And now I am studying to be a documentary filmmaker. So who would have picked?

TONY DAVEY: That's exciting stuff. So we're going to watch your primary school State Debating Championships final from way back in 2008. Is that right? It's something like that.


TONY DAVEY: 2007-- that's hilarious.


TONY DAVEY: So you'll be you'll be speaking second affirmative. And the topic for this is that we should abolish homework for primary school students. So hopefully, it's heartening for primary school kids out there to realise, we've been setting that homework topic for at least 13 years. That's good to know. And then--

AINSLEY HALBMEIJER: But we still haven't abolished it.

TONY DAVEY: That's right. That's right. Oh-- they're getting closer. They're getting closer. We've had to start changing the topic, so that it's that we should keep homework. Anyway, so we're going to watch this speech with you. And by the way, if anyone wants to watch the full debate, they can go online. There'll be a link in the Details section of this video so that they can go watch the whole thing.

But for now, are you ready to watch along and then maybe give yourself a bit of feedback and, finally, rebut your former tiny self?


TONY DAVEY: Excellent.


TONY DAVEY: All right-- let's go.


AINSLEY HALBMEIJER: Good morning, Chairperson, ladies, and gentlemen. Before I continue our case, I would like to point out where the negative team went wrong in their arguments. The opposition stated that primary school homework is beneficial, specifically maths and numeracy.

But children need to learn other things as well. Especially when children are younger, it is much more important to have social development. And with homework, we're missing out on playing with our friends and being comfortable around our peers. The negative team also tried to convince us that routine was important, that studying over and over again the same thing that you did at school can demotivate kids. It can be boring, and they're just doing the same thing that they've already learned.

We should abolish homework for primary school children, as it's detrimental to childhood growth. Now to my first point-- social development. When we are young and in primary school, we need important time for developing social skills, especially in the younger years.

If children are caught up in their homework, they're missing out on developing their social skills, which are essential for later life, especially in high school and when they go into the workforce. If they're stuck inside, doing maths, English, comprehension, revision, and/or projects, instead of going out and playing with their friends, children are missing out on one of the most important skills and lessons to develop in life.

Being comfortable around peers and able to express themselves is much more important and essential for life than doing homework. With homework, children are not developing their social skills properly, which are vitally important for later life. Without homework, children are developing their social skills properly.

Also, primary school children need time with their families. Doing homework every night sitting by themselves, reading textbooks when their parents aren't able to help them. They may be at work or busy. It's hardly good missing out on important family bonding time. It is important to have good relationships with our families, especially when we are younger and really need their support and encouragement.

Primary school children doing homework are missing out on this. Primary school children should not do homework, because doing homework makes them miss out on developing important social skills and having quality family time. Homework should be abolished for primary school children, because it's detrimental to childhood growth.

Now to our second problem with homework. It doesn't allow children to explore the world for themselves until they are in their teens.

[bell rings]

When we are young, we are easily influenced by outside views. And it is important for us to form our own opinions. And homework is set every night, every week of the school year. And usually, there is rote learning that all the class has to do. It doesn't allow enough time for children to go outside and explore the world for themselves.

Set homework, often about boring things, limits children's ability to observe the world around them and form their own opinions. Children nowadays are so caught up in homework and rote learning that kids haven't enough time to develop properly and form their own views. Homework set influences kids too easily.

We could be boring the kids. And kids can become demotivated and are missing out on the important things, like forming their own opinions and exploring the world around them. We should abolish--

[bell ringing]

--homework for primary school children, because it is detrimental to childhood growth.


TONY DAVEY: OK-- excellent speech there. I can't remember. Do you end up winning this final?

AINSLEY HALBMEIJER: We lost this final--



TONY DAVEY: Well, in that case, a little bit of feedback to your formal small self. And then a bit of a chance to rebut, maybe you can be on the winning side this time. So first of all, do you have any tips for your former self about how to improve that speech?

AINSLEY HALBMEIJER: So I think my biggest tip for my former self was to use examples. So when I was-- so funny saying that, when I was talking about how kids needed to develop socially and they needed social skills, it would have been an awesome idea to tell me what those skills actually might look like. So kids playing together helps them to develop skills like teamwork and cooperation, which would be great for the future.

But instead of saying those examples, I just said 'social skills.' So that would have been a really good idea for Little Me. And I think, in the second argument, it would have been great to use some examples of the ways in which kids could explore the world around them by going outside and spending time in nature, for example, and what they would learn from that. So it's a little bit vague to just say that kids need time to explore the world. But that didn't really tell me what that meant for those little kids.

And I think, the second big piece of feedback-- so the first piece was, use examples. And the second big piece of feedback was to not smoosh two arguments together. So my first argument was about social development. But then I decided to talk about spending quality family time.

And I think that Little Me thought those two arguments were good to go together. But it's actually really necessary to put those arguments separately. So we have one argument about social development and then a separate argument about family time.

TONY DAVEY: Yeah, I think that that is spectacular stuff. And something that I think-- yeah-- we could all learn from. Kids often leave out lots and lots of examples and smoosh their ideas together. All right. So to finish this thing up then, do you think you're now ready to rebut and crush your former self?

AINSLEY HALBMEIJER: I am ready to crush my Little Self.

TONY DAVEY: OK. Here we go. Please welcome-- I think it's the second speaker of the negative-- much, much older Ainsley to continue the debate. Whoo, Ainsley! Whoo!

AINSLEY HALBMEIJER: Thanks very much, Tony. So we had two arguments from Little Ainsley today. The first argument was that children need time for their social development. And having homework means that they miss out on that time. So firstly, we don't agree with this, because we think kids have plenty of time to develop their social skills at school.

We think that kids have recess. They have lunch time. They have at least two hours during the day to play and be with their friends, not to mention playing sport and doing extra-curricular activities. So we think that homework actually doesn't encroach on the social time that kids already have at school. It gives them plenty of time to have their social development.

But secondly, we think that even if kids needed more time than just playing at school for their social development, we think that kids have plenty of time on the weekend to hang out with their friends. We think that school is only five days a week. And kids have all of Saturday and all of Sunday to play sports, to hang out with their friends and their family, and get that crucial social development.

We think that primary school teachers aren't crazy. And they don't give kids so much homework that they have to spend their whole weekend inside, doing work. And so we think that kids have plenty of time to develop their social skills on the weekend. So we think that homework doesn't mean that kids miss out on their social time.

The second argument we heard from Little Ainsley today was that children can't explore the world around them if they have to be doing homework. So we think that, firstly, homework really does help kids learn and explore the world around them. For example, we think that giving kids science homework encourages them to learn about the natural world, to go outside, and to go exploring. So we think that homework can actually help kids to do that.

But secondly, we think that even if homework was stopping kids going out and running around outside, that's probably not a bad thing. Primary school kids are pretty young. They're only age 6 to 12. And we think that it's actually a good thing for them to be staying at home and staying safe and doing their homework, rather than running loose around outside without their parents supervision and getting into trouble.

So we think that it's better that kids aren't running around exploring without supervision. We think it's good that they're inside, doing their homework. And like we said before, we think they've plenty of time to do that on the weekend. And so that's why Little Ainsley was wrong. Sorry, Little Ainsley.

TONY DAVEY: Yeah, congratulations. I thought that was pretty brutal. Your rebuttal's come a long way since you were a little primary school kid.

AINSLEY HALBMEIJER: [chuckles] That's good to know.

TONY DAVEY: All right-- that's great. Well, thanks for showing us what excellent rebuttal looks like and for putting up with your former self. And stay safe out there. And we'll talk soon. Thanks, Ainsley. See you later.


End of transcript