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#1 Kiroway

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 12:03 PM

I am the superintendent of a small school in central Texas.  We have never participated in Cross-X before.  That said, I have some interested kids and I'm willing to be their coach.  The issue is that I have absolutely NO idea what I'm doing.  So, I need to know where to get started.  That is how I wound up on this site.

 

My goal is to prepare my kids the best that I can.  What I lack in knowledge I more than make up for in energy and enthusiasm.  So, here are my questions.

 

What are a few key things that I need to know in order to prepare my kids for this new adventure?  If you had to name 10 keys to becoming competitive, what would those things be?

 

I genuinely appreciate the help!

 


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#2 Blakers19

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 01:35 PM

One of the biggest things you can do is reach out to people currently outside of your school district who are familiar with the activity.  There are plenty of universities in the Dallas area (which I believe is close to your school district) who participate in competitive policy (cross-x) debate.  Many high schools utilize those college debaters as coaches for their teams.  UT Dallas and UNT are the two that come to mind immediately.

 

Next, if you have a functioning team, it helps to organize the parents and have them motivated/willing to help.  Your school can save a ton of money on transportation if you have a parent group that is willing to carpool your students to and from tournament.  This money can be used to attend more tournaments/pay for more coaches.

 

One of the best ways to help your students become better debaters is to encourage them to attend camp in the summer.  There are a couple camps I would recommend in Texas - the UT National Institute in Forensics and the Mean Green Workshops hosted by UNT.  There are a lot of great out of state camps as well, but if your students are just starting out those two are good places to begin.  I really cannot stress the importance of camp enough.  It is critical for your debaters to attend camp in the summer if they want to be successful.

 

The National Debate Coaches Association has a ton of resources free for you to use.  The Open Evidence Project hosts all of the files produced at some of the biggest summer camps free for you to download.  It can be found here: http://openevidence..../bin/view/Main/

They also provide a lot of curriculum resources which you can find here: http://www.debatecoa...ulum-resources/

 

Next, if resources are available, try to get your kids attending tournaments sponsored by the Texas Forensic Association (http://txfa.weebly.com/).  Some of the conventions employed by debaters at these tournaments (faster rate of speaking, etc) can be scary to new debaters, but they will get used to it with time.  Once they're more experienced, they may want to start competing on what is known as the "national circuit."  These tournaments aren't usually sponsored by a specific organization, but allow students to earn "bids" to the Tournament of Champions, which is generally regarded as the most competitive tournament of the year.  The reason you should try to attend these tournaments is that they are generally more competitive at higher levels and also more closely resemble the type of debate seen in college, which means your kids have much higher chances of being able to continue on to debate successfully in college if they wish to do so.  Additionally, some of the conventions seen in these tournaments (open cross-examination, argument disclosure, etc) allow for better argumentation to happen.

 

If you haven't already, have your school become a member of the National Forensic League (http://nationalforensicleague.org/).  This will allow you to join an NFL district, compete in their district tournament, and have a chance at sending some of your kids to nationals.

 

ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO DEBATE PAPERLESSLY.  Although this requires a higher upfront cost with the purchase of laptops, it saves a ton of money over time since you won't have to constantly be purchasing paper, highlighters, toner, and checking evidence tubs at airlines (if you end up travelling nationally).  You can find plenty of resources to help you/them learn paperless debate at http://paperlessdebate.com/

 

If you don't know already, to sign up for tournaments you should be using Joy of Tournaments (http://www.joyoftournaments.com/).  You create an account, tournaments are listed and sorted by state, and there are instructions for registering for each tournament.

 

Hope this helps!


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#3 JosephOverman

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 01:57 PM

Policy debate is much too broad of a debate to be collapsed down into 10 key points in my opinion. I would start on the National Debate Coaches Association website to get a general idea. A lot of really good coaches have posted good resources to use. You should probably explore the "Novice Basics" section, and work your way from there. At the beginning, the best novice debaters are the ones who are able to comprehend the general idea of the activity, not the ones with super specific strategies. After you understand the basis of it, you can start focusing on specific techniques to become competitive. 

 

When you start researching and come up with questions, you can post them here and myself and others will gladly answer them. I'll try to explain the general gist of it right here:

 

Policy debate involves two teams, one argues affirmative and the other argues negative. Each team is made up of two partners. Four debaters total in any single given debate. The affirmative reads a plan that falls under the scope of the resolution. (This year's resolution is... Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement with Cuba, Mexico or Venezuela). The affirmative doesn't defend the resolution as a whole, just a portion of it. For example, a popular affirmative case is to remove the Cuban embargo. That falls under the resolution because removal would increase economic engagement with Cuba.

 

The affirmative would read the 1AC, an 8 minutes speech supporting their plan. Policy debates are largely evidence orientated, so the 1AC is almost entirely reading evidence from various sources. (Later in the debate, much more time is devoted to actually debating out the arguments within the evidence). The 1AC (1st Affirmative constructive) has "advantages, which are just advantages to passing their plan. Using the Cuba embargo for example, the affirmative might argue that removing it would help decrease poverty and instability within Cuba.

 

The Negative then has their 1NC (1st Negative constructive) where they can read several different types of arguments. Their goal is to prove that the plan is either a bad idea, or it isn't part of the resolution (a.k.a., Topicality)

 

Topicality: The negative argues that the affirmatives plan does't fall under the resolution, thus, it shouldn't even be part of the debate. The negative defines a word in the resolution, then says why the plan doesn't match it. For example, against the Cuban Embargo, the negative might read a definition of the word "Substantially" saying that "Substantially means a considerable amount", then say that removal of the embargo would only result in a small increase in economic engagement with Cuba.

 

Disadvantage: The negative reads something bad that will happen as a result of the plan. For example, a popular one this year is the China Disadvantage. The negative says that China is engaging with Cuba now, but that U.S. engagement with Cuba is zero-sum and will push out China, hurting the Chinese economy and hurting U.S./China relations. The negative would argue that the problems with doing the plan (Hurting China's economy, would outweigh the benefits of the plan)

 

Counterplan: The negative proposes another solution to all or part of the affirmative's advantage. The goal of the counterplan is to provide a better policy that is mutually exclusive with the affirmative's plan. The negative might say "Counterplan: The United States federal government should fund anti-poverty programs within Cuba". That solves the affirmatives poverty advantage.

As it stands though, there's no reason that the Unites States wouldn't pass both policies. That's why the negative needs to have a "net benefit" to the counterplan, which is usually in the form of a disadvantage that links to the affirmative, but not to the counterplan. The negative would argue that since giving Cuba money for poverty prevention isn't actually a deep engagement with the country, there's no reason it would push out China. Thus, the China disadvantage is a bad thing about the affirmative's plan that isn't triggered by the negative's counterplan. Doing the negative's counterplan solves the affirmative's case, while also avoiding the disadvantage. here would be absolutely no reason to implement the affirmative plan because the counterplan solves the good parts of the affirmative, while avoiding the bad.

 

Case: The negative needs to attack the affirmative case. In the context of Cuba, the negative might say that removing the embargo doesn't decrease poverty in Cuba. Thus, there's no benefit to implementing the plan, and the chance of the disadvantage is a reason why we should stick with the status quo. 

 

 

 

That should be the basics of the debate. Speech times and positions and such will all be on the National Debate Coaches' website. Also, here's an example 1AC that should help show the basic structure of it. If you have any more specific questions, don't hesitate to ask.


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Resolved: The United States federal government should remove the Cuban embargo, invest in Venezuela oil, or substantially increase its economic engagement towards Mexico. 


#4 Kiroway

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 02:45 PM

Oh wow! Amazing responses and exactly what I needed to get started.

I will surely spend a lot of time scavenging the novice section.

Finding is not an issue. I am the superintendent and I've been succesful with the finances. I spend as much on academic pursuits as I do athletic pursuits. So camps and fuel...etc...won't be an issue. And since I'm the one who is going to be the coach, that's free.

I'll keep a few notes as I progress through the next 12 months beginning a new program. Maybe it'll prove helpful to someone on the backend.

Thanks! I'm in your debt.
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#5 Ganondorf901

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 03:16 PM

I definitely agree with reaching out to universities, college students are always willing to coach a team and can help on the training/experience end (as policy debate can be a very insular and complicated activity at first). Additionally, coaches of college teams are very good at engaging coaches of high school teams and some offer training and workshops.

 

If someone has a link to the major Policy Debate handbooks, I'm sure that would help you a lot. There are thankfully a number of 'rule books' designed to help coaches learn and train debaters.

 

debatevision.com and youtube are good places to go to to examine what happens in a policy debate round and getting accustomed to the structure. The V-Debate subforum of this site also offers debates to examine for structure without the speed so you can see up close how cards, evidence, and speeches work.

 

Engaging the students is key, a team that isn't driven by the passion of the students is a team that won't succeed. Once your debaters adapt and learn and hopefully fall in love with the activity, you'll see the team pretty much running itself.

 

I wish you the best in your endeavors, policy debate is truly a life-changing activity and I'm glad to hear the gift is continuing to spread!


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Solidarity forever

I would say I was still a Marxist - which is not to be confused with being a Communist. Despite its flaws, Marxism still seems to explain the material world better than anything else. - Alexei Sayle

 


#6 SnarkosaurusRex

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 04:17 PM

Emory Policy Manual:

http://www.mediafire...licy_Manual.pdf

 

Topic Lectures:

http://www.mediafire...yd7c277o9lj2379


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Every. Single. Policy. Debate.

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#7 WTJAZZ

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:44 PM

I am the superintendent of a small school in central Texas.  We have never participated in Cross-X before.  That said, I have some interested kids and I'm willing to be their coach.  The issue is that I have absolutely NO idea what I'm doing.  So, I need to know where to get started.  That is how I wound up on this site.

 

My goal is to prepare my kids the best that I can.  What I lack in knowledge I more than make up for in energy and enthusiasm.  So, here are my questions.

 

What are a few key things that I need to know in order to prepare my kids for this new adventure?  If you had to name 10 keys to becoming competitive, what would those things be?

 

I genuinely appreciate the help!

I am glad to hear that another TX school has added debate to their activities. Welcome to CX! I hope you and your's have a fun and productive season that will cause the program to grow in future years.


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#8 WTJAZZ

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 04:03 PM

Watch some debate rounds at the Midway HS Tournament. Check the Joy of Tournaments website for dates and schedules.


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#9 georgebushsdogpaintings

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 05:58 AM

What are a few key things that I need to know in order to prepare my kids for this new adventure?  

Types of arguments and how to cut evidence are the two biggest skills that are going to help your students. If you're not going national, then they won't really need to know how to spread.

 

If you had to name 10 keys to becoming competitive, what would those things be?

Knowledge

-Arguments

-Debate

-Judge reading

Home-cut arguments

Clarity

Preparedness

-Every argument

-Know how to answer most args

Variety

-Know how to run every type of argument even if you don't plan on doing so

Be crafty, be cunning, but make sure you're being fair


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#10 nathan_debate

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 09:26 AM

The media fire download above may have a number of debate camp lecture videos.  

 

This thread has 2013 camp lectures listed by camp (not comprehensive) and not sure of the overlap:

http://www.cross-x.c...dor-notes-2013/


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Check out Learn Policy Debate here: http://learnpolicyde....wordpress.com/


#11 Kiroway

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 08:38 AM

I may create a new topic just to brag on my kids, but I wanted to post it here, too.

 

We have participated in our first year of Cross X Debate and we did not embarrass ourselves.  I have one team that has qualified for State and one that has qualified as an alternate!!!  We are still in WAY over our heads, but it doesn't matter because we are going to keep working until we get to where we want to be.

 

The help each of you gave here was more beneficial than you know.


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#12 WTJAZZ

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 01:08 PM

This is great news to hear! I hope everyone continues to enjoy debate and have continued success.


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#13 TejaVepa

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 01:27 PM

Also, take a look here: http://www.cross-x.c...oaching-debate/

 

This has a pretty comprehensive list of coaching resources.


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Teja Vepa
Claremont HS 2007
B.S. Biophysics. University of Southern California 2011
Currently working at Jacobs Engineering Group





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