[eDebate] Re: Some different thoughts on judging
Jason.Jarvis at asu.edu
Thu Nov 22 11:45:57 CST 2001
While I admit that I get bored in some novice debates, Beth outlines some of
the best reasons for why judging pools should NOT be separated. The kids at
the bottom are equally if not MORE important and DESERVE the best judges in
the tournament as much as the varsity folks.
On Wed, 24 Oct 2001 Festustherat at aol.com wrote:
> Imagine this. You’re at your very first debate tournament ever. You have no idea what you’re doing. Your partner is just as nervous as you are. Somehow, you make it through an entire round of debate. And then the judge tells you that your speech was a waste of her time. Or the judge sleeps through your speeches. Or he’s reading up on civil procedure while you’re doing the 2NC. Or the judge tells you before the round that you don’t really need to read any evidence because she has a wedding to get to. Imagine that. Now, would you feel like coming back into that community again? These things have really happened to my novice teams over the past couple of weeks. It’s been hard for me to give them good reasons for the treatment they received from these judges. The ideas below are for everyone to consider though I realize that they do not apply equally to everyone.
> All debaters deserve attentive and interested judges. It may be easier to remain engaged as a judge when the debate is fast or complex or challenging – when you’re listening to good teams. But novices, especially brand new ones, have greater need of your attention. The way they learn and grow, whether they decide to stay in debate or even stay in the tournament, these things depend in part on the feedback, verbal and non-verbal, that they get from judges. What debaters do is hard work. It’s hard to put yourself, your intellect and your identity, on display to be evaluated by strangers. Judges should value the courage this takes by listening and participating in rounds.
> Judging is hard work, too. It’s not just about deciding who won but also about instructing debaters so that they can improve and inspiring debaters so that they have the emotional reserves to handle losing when its their time to lose. It can be hard to give yourself fully as a judge when you’re tired or worried about your own teams or preoccupied with your own work. There are a number of judges I respect immensely for the effort they put into their decisions and critiques even when I disagree fundamentally with the content of their decisions.
> I’m not asking that everyone devote all of their energy to some altruistic enterprise of educating other schools’ students. It does benefit the health and long-term interests of the debate community to have more debaters. If you educate and strengthen other schools’ debaters you strengthen the community and provide better competition for your own students. In the end though, what’s important is not the tangible benefits that may or may not accrue to each of us. What is important is the fundamental dignity and respect that each person deserves when they take the risk of putting their ideas forward. I think judges are obliged to do the best job they can of listening, comprehending, analyzing, deciding, and educating. I think it’s the height of disrespect to sleep during a debate, to judge drunk or high, to leave debaters with the impression that they didn’t get a fair hearing. Maybe you do really judge better when you’re stoned.!
> Maybe you don’t really nee
> d to write down everything they say. Maybe you’ve heard these arguments a dozen times already. None of that matters to the four people you’re there to listen to and help. They deserve the chance to make their own mistakes and to have you judge them on the content of what they say. And they deserve to have a judge who is putting as much effort into it as they are.
> Beth Skinner
> Towson Debate
> eDebate mailing list
> eDebate at ndtceda.com
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