[eDebate] to be more blunt
Tue Jul 17 14:52:20 CDT 2007
In any case, I feel uncomfortable with the diminishing returns argument because each student is unique.
And because I don't think the diminishing returns argument was ever meant to make judgments about individual students, or to discourage eight years of participation in debate if that's what that student wants.
We have a very messed up working definition of "privilege" here when we talk about people who debate for eight years, or the squads that recruit them, as privileged simply by virtue of their participation in debate. As a 7.5 year debater, I can tell you that whatever privileges I had compared to college novices were more than offset by the lack of privilege I experienced in every other facet of my life. We sometimes forget that "well-funded" programs often support poorly-funded human beings. That's why the cooperative model of increasing material access to rigorous, difficult debate is superior to the quasi-Luddite yearning to water down the resolution (although I think a special novice resolution would be a good idea), ban this or that judging preference scheme, etc.
(I also think Korcok too quickly dismisses my survey results ("well, they didn't EXPLICITLY say they left policy debate because of the resolution, but we can read between the lines, and they would never say that anyway..." etc). In fact, the overwhelming majority of these directors seemed to consider the rigor of policy debate unmatchable, and either chiefly or solely made the choice they did because of resources, and regretted doing so. Not ONE person explicitly identified problems with topic-crafting? Don't you think ONE would be more explicit, not inviting Korcok to read their minds? Sure you don't want to call off your bet with Mapes, Mike? ;) )
I respect Neil tremendously, but the way the formula is phrased (4 debaters 2 years > 1 debater 8 years) just doesn't exist in my debate vocabulary. More for everyone, at every available opportunity. I would have fallen through the net of Neil's calculation, but I promise you, I started out pretty stupid, and I needed each of those years, and not a moment less.
From: berchnorto at msn.comTo: edebate at www.ndtceda.com; joepatrice at gmail.comDate: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 15:07:27 -0400Subject: Re: [eDebate] to be more blunt
Joe--I'm not sure I agree with your second point (although I can see instances where it may be the case). As for the first point, I've seen a number of our debaters who experienced the diminishing returns situation and were able to help themselves and others by becoming coaches/judges their senior year. This furthers the coaching pipeline.
Bottom line: I think, in most circumstances, society is better off with 4 people having been exposed to debate for 2 years each than one person having debated for 8 years.--Neil
----- Original Message -----
From: Joe Patrice
To: edebate at www.ndtceda.com
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 3:03 PM
Subject: [eDebate] to be more blunt
Neil Berch wrote:
"I think it's pretty hard to refute the argument (which I heard first from Tuna) that there is, in most cases, a diminishing return to each additional year of debate."
I disagree with this because this thinking begins from the premise that the guardians never change. The next generation of educators will come from among these debaters and while there may be diminishing returns to their individual careers as the years go by*, their ability to gain sufficient perspective on the activity, learn nuances, understand why debate works as it does, etc. improves a great deal the more they compete and I think that is what debate educators need the most. Debate experience is obviously not necessary to teach the activity, but I think growing students who can give back through imparting their vast experience in the activity to future students is the most sustainable model for teaching debate going forward through the years.
* I also disagree with this in the context of novices in particular. I feel my novices make leaps and bounds every year they remain in the activity...the leap of my juniors to seniors is huge in my experience especially in the context of research skills.
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