Joutes oratoires lycéennes

A few words about the Joutes oratoires lycéennes

The Joutes oratoires lycéennes is a French debating competition open to all sixth formers in the UK. Running over the last decade, it has gathered several hundreds of young French learners, all sharing the same interest in practicing languages in a creative and challenging way. The finals, usually organised at the Institut français du Royaume-Uni during the Mois de la Francophonie, bring several months of regional heats to a close. What a great way to enhance one’s capacity of critical thinking as well as one’s knowledge and understanding of the French-speaking world!

A joute, or sparring match, opposes two teams of two students each. One team will argue in favour of a statement, the other against it. The students are allowed to prepare their arguments beforehand and adjust them to this highly codified exercise.

One joute unfolds this way:

  • The first speaker of Team 1 argues in favour of the statement for 2 mins.
  • The first speaker of Team 2 argues against the statement for 2 mins.
  • The second speaker of Team 1 argues in favour of the statement for 2 mins.
  • The second speaker of Team 2 argues against the statement for 2 mins.
  • Both teams argue with/against each other freely for 4 mins during the “lutte acharnée”.
  • One speaker of Team 2 has 1 min to conclude.
  • One speaker of Team 1 has 1 min to conclude.

Last year, the statements debated during the first round of the national finals were:

  • « Le nucléaire est une énergie d’avenir »
  • « Les anciennes puissances coloniales doivent restituer les œuvres d’art qu’elles ont acquises pendant la colonisation »
  • « L’œuvre est indissociable de l’artiste qui l’a produite. »
  • « Les artistes devraient recevoir un revenu minimum de l’Etat »

What the competition offers

To participate in the Joutes oratoires lycéennes enables sixth formers to gain confidence in speaking French and to address current and captivating topics such as the environment, decolonisation etc. They will learn to develop control of the language system and build coherent arguments, directly in French, interacting with their fellow contestants on the spot. They will also engage with French on a more daily basis, listening to the radio and coming up with idioms used by French speakers. In other words, they will become familiar with this language and have fun with it!

Winning contestants are awarded prizes such as book tokens or cinema vouchers to discover further Francophone cultures.

How to participate

To get in touch with regional coordinators and to participate in regional heats, please contact

If you want to know more about:

  • the regional heats across the UK and their organisation
  • the “Joutes” themsleves and how to prepare students to debate in French
  • the benefit of including the Joutes in your curriculum

Join us online on Monday 4 July at 5pm to hear about the Joutes Oratoires from two teachers, organisers of the regional heats for now many years!

Register here for the 2023 edition of the Joutes oratoires lycéennes until Monday 4 July 2022 at 5pm