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Interview with Sasu and Tuan Dung: What do we know how to become a great debater?

Sasu Do Quynh Ngoc (Graduated in 2020) and Nguyen Ngoc Tuan Dung (Y13) were President and Vice President of BVIS Debating club last year, respectively. Recently, Tuan Dung has been selected for the Vietnam National Debate Team. He will be representing the country at the 2020 World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC). Let’s find out the stories behind them! 

Sasu Tuan Dung
Hi Tuan Dung and Sasu, it is great to see you here. Congratulations to Tuan Dung for being selected the Vietnam National Debate team. How do you feel right now? 


Tuan Dung: I was very surprised when receiving the results. Participating in such a prestigious international tournament will surely be a challenge but has given me a lot of experience already. 


Why debating is such an important skill, in your view? 


Sasu: Students don’t rely heavily on textbooks as before. In fact, we tend to ask as many questions as possible and enter into discussion more about the material we have read and pre-prepared. Debating skills help us to plan and articulate openly our thoughts and opinions, producing well-planned and sharp arguments. 

Tuan Dung: Debating helps us to develop essential critical thinking skills – the ability to make reasoned and well thought-out arguments in addition to questioning the evidence behind a particular stance or conclusion. 


What do you think makes you a good debater? 


Sasu: The ability to think on your feet is very important. It only can be gained through practice and participating in competitions. 

Tuan Dung: It is how to construct meaning out of what are usually rather complex topics. We will see a wide range of different topics, from politics to diplomacy and so on. We need wisdom and an acute mind to research the subject and carefully assemble the points we want to make, therefore helping us construct a better argument. 


How did you start learning debating at school? 


Sasu: We have a lot of presenting hours at school, in fact, every week. However, I was still nervous when talking in front of a lot of people. One good friend of mine recommended that I join the BVIS Debating Club. Our club initially only had a few members but we have now grown in popularity. 

Tuan Dung: I joined the Debating Club 2 years ago and now I am working as an Assisting Coach. Every week, I plan the training sessions to improve public speaking skills for our club members. I have also had the responsibility to guide my team in local debating competitions with other schools. 


What was your favorite moments with other club members? 


Sasu: The final match of Hanoi Open Vietnam Schools Debating Championship (HN VSDC) 2 years ago. We just started the debating club a few months before and we only had 4 members. Winning the competition was an unbelievable achievement but we did it, and we are very proud of that success.  

Tuan Dung: The semi-final match of HN VSDC last year was very intense. We won against tough opposition and everyone was jumping for joy when the results were made known 


What are your favorite subjects in school? 


Sasu: Media Studies and Computer Science 

Tuan Dung: English Literature and History 


What do you like the most in BVIS? 


Sasu: For me, it is the community. I joined BVIS Hanoi 3 years ago and wasted no time to make friends. The community is friendlier and more welcoming compared to other schools in which I have studied. 

Tuan Dung: I agree with Sasu. My family had lived in other countries for a long time and I was very nervous when coming back to Vietnam. My friends at BVIS helped me a lot to adapt to a new life and I am so grateful for their support. 


The final question is for Tuan Dung. What is your expectation for the coming competition? 


Tuan Dung: I am confident and will try my best to achieve a high ranking. I am also very proud to participate as a BVIS Hanoi’s student in this competition. 


Thank you very much for the interview. Wish you all the best for the future! 

  • Debate club
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  • Tuan Dung Sasu