On October 24, 2020, the Nederlandse Debatbond organized a workshop in tabbing, held by Marthe Wijfjes. To date, Marthe has tabbed over 30 competitions. She has assisted all Dutch debating societies (except ESDA Chronos) at least once by tabbing their tournaments. Internationally, Marthe has been part of the tab team of Novi Sad EUDC 2018 and she has tabbed most major online competitions in mainland Europe.
One of the participants in the tab workshop was Tatjana Stanic. She was kind enough to sit down for an interview about her experiences with the tab workshop. When asked to describe herself, Tatjana said the following:
Tatjana usually struggles with answering the simple question “Where are you from?”. Namely, she was born in Serbia, spent her early childhood in Russia, moved back to Serbia, then moved to Hungary and all of this by the time she started high school. Unfortunately, in none of these places debating was part of the education system. It remained a thing she admired from far away. Her last move was to Maastricht to start an MSc at the business faculty. Thankfully, this city had a debate club: Rhetorica. She joined just over a year ago and is loving it.
Q: Why did you decide to join the tab workshop?
A: Tabbing has always been a mystery box to me. I have been curious about it but I never knew how it was done. So, I wanted to learn! Moreover, there are a limited number of tabbers in the Netherlands and, since we do not know for how long they are still on, I wanted to make sure that we at least have a tabber for our own tournament.
Q: I can imagine that there were many questions to be answered and many things to learn. What was the most valuable piece of knowledge that you picked up on?
A: Marthe explained the whole process of tabbing very clearly. She took us through it step-by-step as if it was a real tournament. This, combined with the interactiveness of the workshop, meant that I got a very clear idea of what generally has to be done and what tasks a tabber needs to take on. I realized that there is actually much more going on than I thought but now I know how everything connects to the specific items of organizing a tournament.
Q: What traits do you think a tabber should have and do you think that you have those?
A: A tabber should be able to be in control and perhaps even have a loud voice (or a military voice as a fellow member of Rhetorica calls it) to retain order in the tab room. One of the things that I will like about tabbing is actually the messiness of it; when all hell breaks loose and everyone starts screaming, a tabber should trust that they can fix it and have some sort of inner peace. I believe I can do that.
Q: As a result of this workshop, will you be tabbing some tournaments?
A: Definitely! Marthe offered to take us along at a future tournament that she is tabbing to really put the knowledge that we gained into practice. That seems really cool to me so I will definitely take her up on that offer!
Q: Thanks for the interview, Tatjana! Do you have any final remarks?
A: I think the workshop was well organized and thorough; it covered pretty much everything. I want to repeat that the opportunity to tab alongside Marthe at a tournament is a cool idea which will be very useful.
Were you unable to attend but are you still interested in watching the workshop? It will soon be up on our YouTube channel so make sure to keep an eye on that.
Source cover image: https://wallpaperaccess.com/tabby-cat
Mike is an alumnus of the Tilburg Debating Society Cicero and has served as the secretary of the Nederlandse Debatbond (2019-2021). He was vice-chair of Cicero (2015-2016) and in that function oversaw the newly set-up international branch. He also organized the Dutch Debating Winter School, a debating training week that attracted participants of over 20 nationalities.
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