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jmiller

Written Critiques

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Cross posting my post from GFD I made a couple weeks ago:

 

When Brandon & I started this website two years ago we had one main goal, we were set on building community and supporting free, open knowledge. I’m taking this one step farther by challenging the judging community across the nation, not just in Georgia, to become better teachers and more responsible judges.

I challenge judges to use some type of website (wikispace, wordpress, blogspot, etc) and post a DETAILED ballot of every round you judge.

The idea was inspired by Michael Antonucci, Lexington & Georgetown Univ. debate coach, last year. He began a blogspot to record all of his ballots & decisions. Antonucci had two reasons for doing this:

First, written debate commentary’s a lost art. I think that’s a shame. As an instructor, reconstructing a debate through the eyes of the least objective observers possible pains me.

Secondly, scripted judging philosophies lie. Everyone’s read the boilerplate – every judge will vote on most anything, until, of course, they don’t. I probably suffer from as many inconsistencies. It’s easier to evaluate judges based on their actual behavior instead of their idealized self-image.

We couldn’t agree more with him. Since it is the start of the year, every one can start anew and see how this project goes. It doesn’t matter whether you are a PF, LD, or Policy judge. In our opinion, it can help every event.

Behind the cut we have a list of links of judges who are supporting this idea and have created their own space. If you’d like to share your link, please comment the url – and we’ll update the link list. I hope that other judges see the need for this in the community and join in!

 

What are your thoughts about this? I will be posting my ballots at the following site: http://jmdebateballots.wikispaces.com

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Guest wutlol

This is probably a good idea in theory, but most judges are too lazy to even write their RFD on the ballot. I don't see this catching on.

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I like to think that I write a very detailed ballot for 85% of rounds that I judge. The problem for me is writing that hard-copy and then retyping it. Do you see it as viable to give an oral critique but only write a url on the ballot, where the kids can read the proper critique later?

 

If coaches were behind that, I could get behind it easily.

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I am just writing the url on all my ballots this year. I will update the URL once I reach a stable place of internet.

 

I try and keep a working document and update it through the round during prep time.

 

It's not meant to substitute the oral critique, merely supplement it.

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Guest wutlol

It's not meant to substitute the oral critique, merely supplement it.

 

 

As a (possible) future judge, I can already tell you that this is too much work for me. I guess it's still a good idea, but this really isn't going to catch on...

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It's not meant to substitute the oral critique, merely supplement it.

That's exactly what I was saying. My question was if it actually replaced the hard copy ballot critique, which by your post is a "yes".

 

I would probably do this, but my only question is how kids feel about having their ballots posted online. I know that, technically, every round is public enough for people to watch, but some debaters do better with fewer people watching. I'm not going to go so far as to say that this is some sort of an invasion of privacy, but you have to admit it's a weird way of bucking norms.

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My response: get over it. I'd love to see some other ballots from Georgia judges - it can help you figure out how they adjudicate rounds. After watching some judges for 4+ years, I still don't know how they judge rounds. And ballots are starting to be posted online anyways. Speaker points are disclosed, why can't RFD's and full critiques?

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As a (possible) future judge, I can already tell you that this is too much work for me. I guess it's still a good idea, but this really isn't going to catch on...

I think this is a horrible excuse.

 

If this is "too much" work to merely fill out a ballot and provide full reasoning and justification for the round, then you shouldn't be judging in my opinion. All it is asking is you make a copy of your ballot and put it up online - maybe spend a little bit more time thinking about how each debater can improve, etc. As a judge, your job shouldn't be easy. You are deciding how each round plays out, and eventually the tournament.

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As a (possible) future judge, I can already tell you that this is too much work for me. I guess it's still a good idea, but this really isn't going to catch on...

Who are you?

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Guest wutlol
I think this is a horrible excuse.

 

If this is "too much" work to merely fill out a ballot and provide full reasoning and justification for the round, then you shouldn't be judging in my opinion. All it is asking is you make a copy of your ballot and put it up online - maybe spend a little bit more time thinking about how each debater can improve, etc. As a judge, your job shouldn't be easy. You are deciding how each round plays out, and eventually the tournament.

 

 

Calm down. I never said it's too much work to come up with a reason for decision. It's too much work to write it down on the physical ballot, then come home, and re-type it all up for a round you despised judging. If you think otherwise, you should probably look at how much most judges are willing to write on their ballots. "Oral".

 

Instead of encouraging them to publish their entire RFD online, why not start with encouraging them to write out a more detailed RFD on the actual ballot?

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Most tournament directors do (at least on the local circuit). And my plan offers a solution to that. Most judges have laptops... create the template during the round... write up the RFD there, then you have most of the work done.

 

Believe me, I did it during the ENDI tournament and I noticed it took me maybe 30 minutes post tournament to put everything together. Also, judges have plenty of time between rounds to be doing some stuff. I would love to see a detailed ballot for my students. Hopefully coaches/judges will reciprocate what I'm doing for their students.

 

Who are you?

 

And, QFA

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Guest wutlol
Most tournament directors do (at least on the local circuit). And my plan offers a solution to that. Most judges have laptops... create the template during the round... write up the RFD there, then you have most of the work done.

 

Believe me, I did it during the ENDI tournament and I noticed it took me maybe 30 minutes post tournament to put everything together. Also, judges have plenty of time between rounds to be doing some stuff. I would love to see a detailed ballot for my students. Hopefully coaches/judges will reciprocate what I'm doing for their students.

 

 

I agree that this is a good idea. I read Antonucci's blog, and gained some cool insight. I'm just letting you know that most judges (even those with laptops) aren't going to bother typing up their RFD after the round. Even if there's plenty of time to do so, that doesn't mean judges will care. The fact that most judges (in my experience) are too lazy to write more than a one sentence RFD on the actual ballot is a clear indication (in my opinion) that they're not going to spend time after they come home and retype their ballots.

 

It's going to be hard to encourage judges to do much extra work on their own time after the tournament. I don't know if you already do this, but one idea is that you should make it a requirement for judges to fill out at least half of the entire ballot with a complete RFD and other notes at the tournament you host. You can control what judges do at your own tournament. I realize that this won't make the ballots publically accessible (which is sort of the point), but it's still a good first step.

Edited by wutlol

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I think this is a great idea. I used to write a lot on my ballots and always worried that people wouldn't be able to decipher my handwriting or would just lose them when their coaches handed it off to them and not have some helpful information(old problem at Chamblee). I think that this will catch on especially in V debate when the RFD's usually require more care.

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I also think it is a fabulous idea. Especially if you already have your laptop out like I do anyways and also the growing number of people who have laptops out.

 

One of the reasons I like it is because sometime we did not always get our ballots...sometimes ballots would be missing from our packet or our coach/someone would lose them. I like the idea of a ballot being in a fixed public place i.e. the internet.

 

I know it seems like more work... but if you are a judge you have, what I feel is, an obligation to be an educator. I have often encouraged people to find me at the tournament or to email me and ask questions. I find judges who refuse to write anything on a ballot to be bad judges. If it's "too much to write at the end" then suck it up and take notes during the round on the ballot. Give then SOMETHING to learn from.

 

I also am disappointed with tournaments who discourage oral critiques because of how lazy some judges can be. Cutting out this time in order to make a tournament "move quicker" or whatever other reason is just silly. Debate is about learning. If people cannot ask questions or get suggestions on getting better then how are they to learn?

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I also am disappointed with tournaments who discourage oral critiques because of how lazy some judges can be. Cutting out this time in order to make a tournament "move quicker" or whatever other reason is just silly. Debate is about learning. If people cannot ask questions or get suggestions on getting better then how are they to learn?

 

Kelly, I have no problems with oral critiques, but I do have a problem with them when they go on and on and on and on and on (which is why I tell judges at our tournament to keep it brief). I'm sorry, but if I'm responsible for getting 10 or 15 kids home at the end of a tournament (especially if I'm the one doing the driving), then I do want the tournament to run reasonably akin to on time. It's a less than pleasant feeling to be driving down the between-Madison-and-Thomson stretch of I-20 after midnight having to perpetually slap myself in the face trying not to fall asleep at the wheel. I think that because some judges just don't know when to shut up. . . when the critique lasts too long on a Saturday afternoon, the debaters stop taking everything in, anyway. I think that some tournaments and directors have overreacted by saying NO oral critiques, but that's probably because they know that if they give some judges an inch, they'll run a marathon. (Of course, putting your tournament on a feasible schedule that allows time for brief oral critiques can also allow the tourney to run on time.)

 

Keep it to a reasonable limit. . . if what you have to say goes beyond that, write your email address on the ballot and go to the next round. If the debaters want to learn from you, then either they or their coaches will follow up with you. (I've emailed judges after we've gotten home because I wanted clarifications on what was on a ballot.) If they don't, then your oral critique isn't registering, anyway.

 

Side note: it would also be pretty cool if coaches would stress to their debaters that actually listening politely to a critique from a judge who has

dropped you is a good idea, too. One reason that I stopped disclosing VERY early on in my coaching career is that I didn't appreciate disrespectful kids arguing with me about my decision. Wanting to understand my decision is one thing; challenging me about it (as if I'm just another debater) is another. I've been outside rounds and heard debaters yelling at judges, and that bugs me to no end. Even if I have made the wrong decision, I deserve your respect. . . I'm just not going to sit and listen to an arrogant teenager treat me as if I'm an idiot.

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Ok Mrs. R. I get your point... but if you'll notice I said tournaments that discourage critiques. And to make more clear what I meant...I am talking about tournaments that DON'T allow them.

 

And you said it yourself..."(Of course, putting your tournament on a feasible schedule that allows time for brief oral critiques can also allow the tourney to run on time.)"

 

So my advice would then be to tournament organizers to plan for this time. Strictly enforce the start times. All too many tournaments will not in fact enforce the 15 minute forfeit. Or however long it is now? I would say that can be a bigger problem than judges talking too much.

 

So I stand by what i said- I think oral critiques are needed for debaters to get better unless judges will step it up and NOT be lazy and write very in depth ballots/use the new idea of the wikis and blogs to explain ideas/RFD. I also stand by my original sentiment that judges should be educators and not simple "paid help" or in the spot to help their team save $$ on judging fees.

 

And I never go beyond 5 minutes. If it gets to that point I will tell people to find me later in between rounds OR to email me/find me on cross-x (back when I came here more often)...

 

I totally agree that debaters need to be respectful of judges. Coaches should make sure they are having some sort of civility and tournament etiquette discussion with their students. If I ever hear about a CHS kid talking back to a judge well...I'll make sure to have words. I've had some debaters argue with me but I also think that is due to my age. I think sometimes younger judges have a harder time being perceived as credible with the young debaters because they tend to think we are on the same level. The same happens in my college classes that I teach. I'm often seen as "young and cool" at first but then when I tell them I'm not going to put up with lazy I then become "young and ignorant and a bitch"...

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