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German Debating Competition 2021/22

“Discussion has to be learned. Discussion involves wanting to listen and being able to listen. Discussion also involves wanting to empathise with the other person’s view, in order to get to the core of the matter.” (Herbert Wehner, 1906 - 1990)

Logo des Debattierwettberbs Groß (C) Goethe-Institut Irland Questioning things critically, expressing views on political topics or listening to other people’s opinions and empathising with other persons’ views and responding to them in an objective and fair way are all key skills which can be improved by debating.

Since its beginnings, the German language debating competition provides a fantastic opportunity for Irish pupils to learn the art of debating and with that, to better their language knowledge, especially their speaking skills. Pupils benefit further, as debating also trains additional qualities, which can be used to prepare them for their future professional lives. Furthermore, pupils are enabled to participate in the formation of their political opinions.
With that in mind, we are delighted to announce that the Goethe-Institut’s debating competition is returning in 2021-2022!

The Goethe-Institut invites secondary school students to take part in our competition and engage with questions about current affairs.
There will be different rounds in which the participating schools compete against each other. At the end, all students will be invited to the final in which the two winning teams will show their language skills.

If you are interested, please apply with a team of four students using our digital registration form by 30/09/2021.

Registration Form

Spaces for taking part in the competition are limited. Your space will be confirmed after the deadline.
4 students in Transition Year or 5th and 6th year.
Please note that students with a native German speaking background or who have resided in Germany for more than one year are not eligible to participate in the competition due to matters of fairness. Thank you for your understanding.
All participants are cordially invited to watch the final on 13 May 2021.
Die Debatten finden während der folgenden Zeiträume statt:
Round 1:          November 2021
Round 2:          January - March 2022
Round 3:          April 2022
Final:                May 2022
Due to the current situation (Covid 19), the preliminary rounds will take place virtually via Zoom. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and act accordingly. Most importantly, we want to keep you safe.
The motion will be send via email to the schools (contact person) 2-3 weeks before a debate including the following:

Position (Proposition/Opposition)
Contact adress of partner school 
Good to know:
Form of address: „Sie“ („du“ only for school teams)
Time limitations: 3 minutes speaking time (then 1. bell), 4 minutes max. (after that 2nd bell) and so on. After 4 minutes there will be a deduction of points (5 points per 30 seconds overdraft)
In order to prepare the students for the competition and to ensure that they can express themselves at the appropriate language level, the Goethe-Institut provides teachers with useful phrases.
  • Chairperson: gives a brief introductory speech
  • Team Captain: opens the debate, introduces the team, mentions the motion and arguments and discusses the first argument
  • Team members: cue sheets/ key word cards are allowed. Heckling is prohibited!
  • In the end, the team captains will summarize the arguments in reverse order mentioning all arguments and rebuttals 
  • Secondary schools will organize a team of 4 students. The Goethe-Institut will organize a chairperson, timekeeper and adjudicators.



FURTHER Information and Material


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Dr. Caroline Schroeter
Project Coordinator