ISDC expands to invite other international school debaters


Photo by Lauren Ahn (11)

Fifteen teams competed for the championship in the second International Schools Debating Championship (ISDC) at SIS on March 6 and 7. The event previously entitled SIS Debating Championship (SISDC) invited adjudicators and coordinators from both SIS and other Korean foreign language school students, but its participation was limited to SIS students. Starting this year, however, as the change in name indicates, the competition actively advertised to seek registration from other foreign language and international schools in Korea.

“The kind of debate students at SIS need is a special one,” said Lauren Ahn (11), founder and Chief Adjudicator. “Many of them already go to hagwons, debate weekly, and watch videos. What they do not get the chance to do is to obtain diverse and new experience through interactions with students from other schools. ISDC was created and expanded to create this inclusive and competitive environment.”

Expanding the target participants added emphasis on advertising via website, social media, and reaching out to schools. The seven SIS student officers recruited judges, administered registration processes, and prepared necessary commodities such as meals, trophies, and rooms. Over the course of two days, debaters competed in three preliminary rounds and two performance-based final rounds over the Grand Championship title.

“In general there was more preparation needed to suit the greater number of students” said Jiwhan Moon (10), Deputy Chief Adjudicator. “We changed the time of the competition from October to March this year to fit our school’s academic schedule. With the increased participation from other schools including foreign language schools this year, however, the ISDC team faced some issue setting a schedule that incorporated the circumstances of various schools.”

ISDC, or at the time, SISDC, was established to coordinate a competition solely for junior debaters in their middle school or freshmen years. Following school guidelines, Lauren and the executives coordinated this zero-profit competition to provide opportunities for amateur debaters to learn more about Forensics, and to encourage them to join the school Forensics team and national debate team.

“We realized what we wanted to create was not a regular debate tournament, where novice debaters pay large amounts just to meet expert teams and fail after a few rounds,” said Gray Macklin, ISDC advisor. “SIS has already established its identity as a leader in debate through its constant membership in the national debate team. The ISDC reflects the school positively by providing a service to the community as a whole.”