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New Speech Teacher needs YOUR help

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I only debated policy debate for one year in high shool. The rest of my experience is in parliamentary debate.

 

Looking for tips....on what I need to teach my debate students to allow them to be competitive. Thanks.

 

One specific question....is spreading still the thing to do in 'cx' debate? If so....any tips to help my students get better at doing this.

Edited by ArkansasDebate

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Policy tends to have regional styles, so there is no one-size-fits-all instruction, however there are many similarities. First off, I would recommend meeting with a nearby coach (or contact other coaches in your state) and ask this question, also ask if they have any teaching materials you could use, and finally ask if they would be willing to "guest coach" your students. Not only would this give your students a good grounding in the local style, but will also help forge good relations between your schools (which can be a lifesaver when unexpected situations pop up at tournaments, for example you may need to deal with a situation and can ask the other coach to watch your students). In addition, I would encourage your students to attend debate camps next summer where they can build off of the basic knowledge they get this year and can come back next year to help you coach the new and non-camp students.

 

On your final question, yes speeding/spreading is very much alive in CX and is probably faster, in general, that you remember it. Do a search in this forum for "speed drills" to get some good techniques.

Edited by Fox Sans Socks

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The main thing id have to stress in trying to field some competitive teams is making sure that they above all, learn the specific types of arguments, the parts that make them up and finally how to answer them. After they have a basic grasp on arguments then you can move into stock piling evidence. On spreading, personally i think its place is limited, the only place i can justify it is in the 2ac, but if your region speciffically puts your students in a place where it is a must, they will only get better with practice

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addition, I would encourage your students to attend debate camps next summer where they can build off of the basic knowledge they get this year and can come back next year to help you coach the new and non-camp students.

 

On your final question, yes speeding/spreading is very much alive in CX and is probably faster, in general, that you remember it. Do a search in this forum for "speed drills" to get some good techniques.

 

I know that there are good and bad debate camps....which would be the best recommended from the people on this site?

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I only debated policy debate for one year in high shool. The rest of my experience is in parliamentary debate.

 

Looking for tips....on what I need to teach my debate students to allow them to be competitive. Thanks.

 

One specific question....is spreading still the thing to do in 'cx' debate? If so....any tips to help my students get better at doing this.

 

hey if you pm me your email I'll send you something at will be super helpful in teaching your students. It's a handbook essentially...

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I know that there are good and bad debate camps....which would be the best recommended from the people on this site?

Northwestern is definitely top 3 in the college debate league. I've attended their Zarefsky Scholars camp twice, and have learned a ton both times. Although it is costly, if your students can afford it, they have the best instructors in the country there.

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The most important thing to teach newcomers - and this is as true for LD and parli as for CX - is refutation. Once the basics of four point refutation are mastered, learning to apply them to more and more exotic arguments is easy to learn. Without this skill, your kids will never succeed at any level or in any debate event, except maybe pufo.

 

And there is something more important than sending the kids to camp - go yourself. Several national camps have coaching camps. In the long run, being a good asset to the kids day to day is more important than sending them to camp in the summer. I am not recommending against camp for the kids, but it won't help you be a better teacher. In fact, sending them and not going yourself runs a very real risk of ending up with kids who don't respect your input as much as they otherwise might. You don't want that.

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And there is something more important than sending the kids to camp - go yourself. Several national camps have coaching camps. In the long run, being a good asset to the kids day to day is more important than sending them to camp in the summer.
This is very true. I suggested liaising with other coaches first mostly because I know many coaches have other responsibilities in the summer or don't want to take time away from their breaks. But if you can work out the timing and finances, go to one of these camps.

 

I would also avoid a mistake I see many new coaches make in holding back their kids from competitions simply because the coach doesn't think they're ready. Once your students have the basic grounding, send them out as often as possible. Sure, they'll lose, a lot, and by wide margins. So insulate them ahead of time to not take the losses personally, but rather to look at the techniques used by the winning teams. Even in my senior year, after two trips to Nats, I learned far more from the rounds I lost than the ones I won. As debate captains my partner and I encouraged all of our newbies to compete as often as they could, even though it demoralized some (and a few of the more ego-driven eventually dropped because they were not winning) those who took notes on what their opponents did well and examined the comments on every ballot they lost ended up being the best new debaters in the district by the time state quals came around.

 

So don't worry about their egos hurting from losses, you can give them all the morale they need, just pick them up after a loss and ask "what did you learn?"

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I would never hold my kids back from competition. We already have a scheduled practice debate against a bigger local school to get our feet wet. I actually hope they do get beat instead of just stomping the other team...that way we can focus on what needs to be fixed....also..I have noticed that most debaters, myself included, have very big heads...and having a good dose of reality before a real tournament (ours is on the 20th-21st of this month) will be good for us.

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I know that there are good and bad debate camps....which would be the best recommended from the people on this site?

 

 

honestly if you are looking for a camp that not only is a great value, but is a great teaching camp for both coaches and debaters looking to rise from novice to varsity you should contact Alex Pritchard, he runs a 3 week camp "The Championship Debate Group" http://www.thechampionshipgroup.com/

 

they have a great staff and the camp really focuses on teaching novices and new varsity debaters what they will need to know to make their varsity year successful

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Smarts beats speed 75% of the time.

 

You (probably) aren't going to win if the judge doesn't get it on the flow, so clarity even trumps speed. (Or if they can't make sense of it once they write it down)

 

Besides, if you cut the length of a card (ie underline/bracket down) by 1/3 - 2/3 you can read TWICE as much evidence (using you average out at cutting your ev by 1/2)

 

You're dealing with novice debaters...so speed is far, far less of an issue.

 

Here is evidence broken down by argument, if you haven't seen this resource:

http://openev.debatecoaches.org/files/category/arguments-policy

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I would definately agree that clarity is more important than speed. I have had a lot of judges write on balancs that if slowing down would lead to more clarity then to do so. If you have kids who are fast and not clear you should have them speak with a pen in their mouth. It really helped my speaker points when I started doing spaeaking drills. I also agree on the losing issue losing a lot gave me the desire to work more I got tired of getting embarassed. If you can get some copies of debate finals at nationals it really helped me to watch and flow those.

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I know that there are good and bad debate camps....which would be the best recommended from the people on this site?

 

I think there's a few threads on this.

 

For debaters going into their 2nd year, I highly suggest SDI. I went there after my 2nd year, but it was brilliant for me. The people in my lab have done really well at national tournaments and such.

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I would definately agree that clarity is more important than speed. I have had a lot of judges write on balancs that if slowing down would lead to more clarity then to do so. If you have kids who are fast and not clear you should have them speak with a pen in their mouth. It really helped my speaker points when I started doing spaeaking drills. I also agree on the losing issue losing a lot gave me the desire to work more I got tired of getting embarassed. If you can get some copies of debate finals at nationals it really helped me to watch and flow those.

see the thing is if you want to teach young debaters first you should do this

 

1. make them read very very slow, but say ever vowel and syllable emphasized in a word, this makes for three very good things

1a) allows them to gain neccesary clarity for when they get faster

1b) allows them to become faster and more clear at an alarming pace

1c) they begin to natural emphasize certain words like global nuclear war, or genocide, in speeches while they read fast so that it sticks out and possibly gets engrained in the judge's mind (also = more speaker points)

 

2. slowly speed up while keeping the same clarity, if a debater is clear at a slow speed but starts becoming less and less clear slow them down, having a metronome helps

 

3. once they do get very fast they will not have any clarity issues

 

i learned this by myself, and spoke very slow but very articulated in my first year i got high speaker points but often couldn't finish a speech in time. although over the summer my speed multiplied by 3 or 4 times and now i can spread very very fast while keeping the same clarity as if i were going my original start speed. i can now get through about a 18 page 1ac in 8 minutes, and every judge that has judged me has commented on being able to hear every word i say clearly at such high speeds.

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I know that there are good and bad debate camps....which would be the best recommended from the people on this site?

I highly recommend GDI. Two weeks there took me from being a really, really shitty debater to breaking to quarters last week at an invitational. Can't beat the cost, either - even with the airfare it was several hundred bucks cheaper than the Bay Area camps.

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I am a debater in Arkansas and I can tell you that spreading is not as intensive as it is on the national level. There are a few people at champ level that are able to read fast, but it is nothing compared to the ToC. Arkansas judges are either coaches that still prefer debate as a public speaking event and would rather see few arguments that make sense and are more logical (given this does vary judge to judge). There are several threads on how to speak quicker on cross-x here if you use the search feature. If you have any other questions about how Arkansas works feel free to ask. There are many coaches that can help you, feel free to ask them (I know they have offered help to my relatively new coach with no champ debaters to carry on any information or techniques). Also, with my knowledge Holliday (spelling?) from Little Rock Central has the most experince at national levels, given I don't know the entire history of every coach in the state. None the less, most coaches have been teaching AR for a long time and I'm sure they will be willing to help you.

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