Academics and Coaching
Wed Mar 18 12:05:22 CST 1998
As might be expected everyone has made most of the right arguments.
Someone coming from a program which has no Communications Department,
and one who was able to get tenure before the more rigorous standards
were adopted, I find myself quite sympathetic to both positions.
I guess my biggest concern is that debate seems to have lost a lot
of its previoius enjoyment level. Whether it was being able to
have a nice meal as a squad, get a reasonable amount of sleep before,
let alone during a tournament, or just being able to have a more
relaxed attitude at tournaments. The comopetition has become quite
intense, I think Scott listed many of the reaons for this growth.
The emphasis on evidence, the ability to win anything if you have
a quote which says combined with the break neck speed with whcih
such quotes are read has virtually eliminated the ability of debaters
to make reasonable or logical assertions. All such challenges are
ultimately lost during the post round recreation. Perhaps this
makes for more meaningful and substantive debates, but I think it
puts considerable pressure on students and coaches to invest
limitless hours researching. I might add, this becomes especially
boring if the topic also happens to suck!
There are changes and perhaps six rounds is one of them, assuming
the schedule is not altered to simply accommodate more pre round
preparation and post round discussion. Perhaps a later release
date, although I feel strongly that at the early stages is when
most do actually read BOOKS and try to acquire a more meaningful
understanding of what the topic means and where it will go. I fear
the later the release the more dependent we will become on LEXIS
and Clinton (or whoever happens to be President). I would suggest
perhaps we consider making the season shorter at the other end.
Move the NDT to February or January, allow debaters to be students
for at least one semester a year. So much time and effort is invested
in one tournament which drags out the season for two full months;
if one wants to try a meaningful change that is where I would urge
Finally, write better topics. NARROW, BALANCED topics which are
discussing MEANINGFUL issues. Combine that with a shorter debate
season, not necessarily a shorter research season and I think you
might create a more enjoyable activity!
An Over 50 Contributor!
>From Wed Mar 18 11:33:10 1998
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 11:33:10 +0000
Reply-To: ad52 at columbia.edu
To: Team Topic Debating in America <EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Alan Dove <ad52 at COLUMBIA.EDU>
Organization: Columbia University
Subject: Re: Cambodian Demining Web Page
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Yes, this is a longstanding problem with evidence from the Web, as I
noted in the online research tutorial on the Columbia Debate page. As a
judge, I flow evidence (rarely the source name, by the way, so "pull the
Smith card" does nothing for me). That means that a card which says,
for example, "the USFG's obligation to provide security assistance in
the form of demining overrides all other concerns" would be on my flow
as a claim, and if the Affirmative characterizes it as an argument to be
weighed, it becomes one. If there is no response, and it gets pulled,
guess what? Yeah, rough day for the Negative. Answering it, though,
doesn't require much effort and certainly doesn't require a card.
By the way, I made up the quote in the previous paragraph for
illustrative purposes, so don't ask me for the cite.
Analyzed carefully, most of what debaters put forth as "awesome
evidence" is really just flaming rhetoric. The Web just makes more such
rhetoric available. My hope is that this will lead to greater caution
and deeper analysis of cards, and I think the transition may already be
underway. I'm hearing more on-point case argumentation these days than
I have in the past, and a lot of it is composed of attacks at the data
and warrant levels. Now if people would just stop using the derogatory
name "pimps" for these reasoned responses, I would be really happy.
By the way, none of this should in any way be construed as a criticism
of the Cambodian Demining page or its author. I haven't visited the
site and haven't read the paper. I'm just extending the general
observation about evidence posted to the Web by folks associated with
Alan Dove, Ph.D.
ad52 at columbia.edu
a.dove at natureny.com
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