About UsAbnormal Means (AM) is a collaborative CX debate blog dedicated to helping students and teachers learn about policy debate.
- "Judge, What Is Your Paradigm?"
- Breaking News: 2012-2013 High School Topics
- Guam Neo-Colonialism Kritik?
- Extra-Topicality and Effects Topicality
- Marine Mammals Affirmative
- How to waste 8 minutes of the negative block...
- The Best Definition of "Military and/or Police Presence" (so far)
- Space Debris Affirmative
- 2011 UIL CX Debate State Meet Video
- Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams Affirmative
- December 2011 (3)
- November 2011 (2)
- October 2011 (6)
- September 2011 (10)
- August 2011 (16)
- July 2011 (1)
- June 2011 (2)
- May 2011 (6)
- April 2011 (7)
- March 2011 (16)
- February 2011 (15)
- January 2011 (10)
- December 2010 (8)
- November 2010 (15)
- October 2010 (16)
- September 2010 (30)
- August 2010 (13)
- July 2010 (28)
- June 2010 (30)
- May 2010 (40)
- April 2010 (26)
- March 2010 (6)
Monday, December 19, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
I have noticed more and more a slippage of the conception both aff and neg teams have of proper “disad uniquness” on the current high school topic. Lots of 1ACs seem to have a “your disad is non-unique” pre-empt card that indicates more space launches are coming now. This is probably good for “going into space bad” disads (debris, ozone depletion, et al.). However, this becomes problematic whenever the neg reads “relations” disads (US-Indian relations, EU cred, etc.). While the prediction that multiple other launches are taking place in the status quo does (arguably) non-unique most launch disads that are missing a key unique internal link (like, “only increasing SBSP creates the cascade effect” or something) it doesn’t really address the warrant on most relations disads that “substantial” increases in US space programs would be perceived by international actors as a threat.
This becomes really disheartening whenever the 2AC response number 1 on the relations disad is “launches now, risk of link is zero”… How can you fix this?
1.) Find better disad pre-empt evidence. Perhaps something like “more domestic launches now, this has triggered all international perceptions”. Although this is still a little sketchy because good teams will often spin this in the block as proof that “the brink is NOW”.
2.) Find a cut specific link turns about your plan for each major country/region on this topic. So that you have a floating disad take out to “launch” disads in the 1AC, you additionally have plan specific link turns to “relations” disads that are most likely better than the generic link evidence most 1NCs are reading.
I hope everyone is enjoying winter break, I am.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Author’s Note: I wouldn’t be able to write this without the input of everyone quoted. Thanks for your contributions and candor. I greatly appreciate it.
Understatement of the year– I enjoy policy debate. My professional life is consumed by coaching and teaching the activity. My Fridays and Saturdays are devoted to it. I find judging to be an especially rewarding part of this experience.
Most of the time, anyway.
Somewhere along the road, debaters develop habits that can really make a judge’s skin crawl. In an informal, completely unscientific survey, I asked 30 judges their thoughts on the matter.
The folks quoted below come from a variety of policy backgrounds: some are college debaters, others coach full-time, and all judge frequently.
Trashing you is not the purpose of this piece. More than anything, we want to educate and help you. We want you to be the best debater you can be. Constructive criticism is an important part of growing into that role.
The words below are direct quotes in response to the question: “What debater behavior do you find off-putting, ridiculous, or just plain bad?”
Ready for your critique?
When You Don’t Sign Post or Road Map, Santa Kills an Elf
“No road maps.”
“Definitely when students don’t sign post. I refuse to flow arguments that they don’t clearly tell me where they go.”
“Not giving a roadmap or at least an order before the speech is ridiculous.”
“A debater giving a disorganized speech.”
Not Explaining Arguments = As Fun As a Nickelback Concert
“Your case and args should be analysis of evidence, not evidence with a little bit of analysis.”
“DAs that turn into ‘let me read all this really, really quick and then explain its’ point. ’ Break down the DA and show the relevance of each section.”
“Though news to me, the Aff must think that CPs don’t need things like, oh I don’t know, net benefits, competitiveness, text, or solvency.”
“No analysis. I want to hear what the debater thinks that page and a half of words means to their case.”
Stealing Prep Like Elvis Andrus Steals Bases
“Telling me to end prep time. AS IF I CAN’T TELL THAT YOU ARE WALKING TO THE PODIUM.”
“I end prep time when I’m actually done prepping. Better than when they say end prep and stand there for a few minutes rearranging stuff.”
“Making other paperless teams look bad by not having computers or flash drives ready.”
“Announcing to the room how much prep time you have left.”
“What’s Your Pair-A-Dimes?”
“Ignoring paradigms after asking about them.”
“When debaters just pander to me like ‘Judge, a drop means…’ or when they quote any kind of rule to me.”
“I hate it when debaters quote rule books at you about speed.”
Respect is a Garden. Dig It.
“Acting like they know everything just because they are an X year debater from X school.”
“Ad hominem attacks.”
“Debaters that feel the need to eviscerate a novice team just because they can.”
“All of the biggest problems stem from respect. Respectful does not always equal nice or clownishly polite. It does mean treating your partner and the people you are debating as though they have the same right to compete as you do.”
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Two update cards today,
First, a really great (long) article about the rise of China. Even if this isn’t a geopolitical scenario you argue, worth a read.
Second, an interesting wrinkle in the US stance toward UFOs… In case you are one of those zany kids talkin’ about space people.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Head’s up, if you are debating any of the myriad warming or weather scenarios, this card will be of some help.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
The two final potential topics for next year are:
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States.
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its legal protection of economic migrants in the United States.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
This probably gives you some metrics that would be helpful in impact framing.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
One key take away from my judging expericne this weekend, K debaters not only need to know “their” theorist of choice, but also how that author interacts with other popular k authors.
For example, I judged a “K on K” round in which the aff was advocating a Foucauldian critique of power relations, and the neg responded with a counter advocacy predicated on the writings of Hardt and Negri. By the end of the round, each side essentially argued “our cards say we are key to power relations, we win”. The debate that never happend was how each corpus of critical literature conceived of what “power” is, and how that conceptualization differed from the opponents theorists…
For example, while Foucault sees Power as omnipresent, and multi-directional, Hardt & Negri have a somewhat more bianary view of power (informed by more Marxist considerations). At any point in the debate, either side could have argued “Power is XXXX, your authors don’t assume this, we access the best internal link vote XXXXX”.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Let Hayes and Green know, they’ll fell better.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
If you’re like me and you enjoy reading back issues of now defunct debate publications when you’re trying to put off entering judge prefs for the upcoming tournament, you might enjoy some of these links… Everyone else, sorry:
Crenshaw asks, fem k legit? (sort of)
And, an answer.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
No lessons learned from last weekend’s round robin other than perhaps flu season starts early in the debate world…
Instead, here’s an updated link to what I consider an absolute gold mine for debate card–age. Deacon Source is a spot that offers full, cut versions of every single card Wake Forest reads throughout the entire year.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
With permission, I’m glad to share a excerpt from an email from Aaron Timmons, head debate coach at the Greenhill school. Good advice for all new judges, and all of us who stay in contact with our alums as they become judges:
While it is true that novice debaters engage in hyperbole, every Monday post the first tournament I hear stories about student judges that include:
“Her phone rang and she took the call in the middle of my speech”.
“He didn’t flow but read a book during my speeches”.
“The judge was texting during the whole debate”.
“The judge had head phones on during my speeches”.
“He left the room during cross ex and didn’t listen to it”.
“The judge chatted with a friend who came in to watch the debate and seemed to listen to little of what was said”.
The new one today was, “the judge said our debate was terrible and we were borderline terrible as well”.
Many student judges have a proclivity of giving speaker points that were far too high or too low for kids in their first competitive debate.
At the end of the day we all need our novices for our programs to be sustainable. It would be great if we all could train our student judges the “do’s and don’ts of judging” to make all experiences for our young ones a good one!
Couldn’t have put it better myself (so I didn’t).
Monday, September 26, 2011
Saturday was our novice tournament, not so much a lesson to be derived as much as a thought:
It’s got to be ok to lose.
Novices need to know this, but more importantly the people that coach them need to know this. The mantra I have adopted for first time debaters is “try as hard, mess up alot, learn alot”. I think far to often as coaches/teachers we put such a premium on perfection and/or winning that it can become a detriment to learning. Lots of novice rounds I see involve short constructives, shorter rebutals, and lots of redundant card reading, often followed by a post round discussion that involves the phrase “well, I thought about saying XYZ, but didn’t want to say the wrong thing.”
It is better for new debaters to say the wrong thing than to say nothing at all out of fear of failure.
So, if you are a first year debater, go lose some rounds this weekend, you’ll win more later for it.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Three key take aways from this weekend at Greenhill:
1.) Quality arguments > Speed. Even just walking around the school it was suprising to here so many bad arguments spread so poorly, and so many smart arguments made so slow and clearly. I found by and large the ballots bared out my gut reaction.
2.) Peacocks love cashews.
3.) Good teams are working between rounds. What do you do between rounds? Hang out with your friends, play online games? The best debaters can be found in a hallways redoing their last rebutal or recutting 2AC blocks to prepare for the next round.
Next Saturday is angel tournament weekend, more lessons to come…
Friday, September 16, 2011
We don’t usually “advertise” on the blog, but if anyone would be interested in participating in a free round robin style tournament in the metroplex on 10/1, email me directly. Space is limited.
jasonjordan [at] stonemedia [dot] com
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
This probably non-Uniques a few arguments
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
In case anyone is reading the camp file Zane and I put together, here are more cards you need:
Monday, September 12, 2011
This year I am going to (try) to gleen a few lessons about debate from each tournament I judge at, this week’s addition is Grapevine:
The 2AC is all about strategic (offensive) debating…
Merely ‘answering’ every negative flow is not usually in and of itself enough to win against good teams. Two things every 2AC must keep in mind. One, you have 8 minutes of cards presented before the neg ever stands up, exploit this. If your 1AC is properly structured, it should pre-empt most generic arguments the neg has in their tubs (laptops). 2ACs that consist entirely of new cards rarely seem to be succesfull in high level rounds. Two, you are never going to win every single part of every single argument. The neg has the block, you have the 1AR, I can’t do math but I understand the aff is going to get behind on certani parts of the flow. But that’s ok, know your case and what its respective strengthes and weaknesses are, this will inform what arguments you MUST win, compared to the arguments the 1AR can strategically concede in needed.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
At a rural high school, I speak of disadvantages and offensive arguments. Novice debaters, barely into their first week at this strange place, blink at me. The wheels are turning, but they seriously need to break.
I’m just as new as they are and perhaps slightly less nervous. Although I’ve worked with debate teams in the past, teaching my very own crew is unfamiliar territory. Prep time (through judging, student teaching, etc.) is up, so to speak.
My CX squad is made up almost entirely of novices. Sure, there’s one grizzled veteran and some converts from the Land of Lincoln (Douglas.) But the rest? Greener than a dollar bill.
Of course, I am definitely not an expert in either Policy or teaching it. By all means, do what works best for your team. Learning, especially in debate, is a collaborative effort. Two pieces of advice from two wildly different mentors have been especially helpful:
1. Novices are, indeed, people. Treat them as such. You don’t have to bring cookies everyday or pretend to be a weird, debate-style Mr. Rogers, but by all means, make them feel welcome.
2. Teach “Policy Speak” as soon as possible. I started with the jargon, simply because it affects the rest of the activity. To non-debate ears, it truly sounds like a foreign language. Remember: many moons ago, you probably mixed up Solvency and Significance, too.
So far, coaching has been like eating with chopsticks: totally overwhelming at first, but cool once you get the hang of it. I am not quite there yet, but I’m working on it, right alongside the kids. This weekend, they observed rounds at Grapevine. Next weekend is their first angel tournament.
In the meantime, think about your novice coaching season. What was the best advice you received? How about the worst?
Friday, September 9, 2011
If you are debating this weekend and you aren’t a k team, you deserve to lose if you aren’t reading this politics scenario.