[eDebate] to be more blunt

Joe Patrice joepatrice
Tue Jul 17 16:47:16 CDT 2007

Scarce resources are a key factor facing an activity such as ours.  But I
think Matt is right that we should not essentialize the experience of any
given debater and declare a student (comparatively) "educated" after a
couple of years.  I have coached teams frontloaded with high school
experienced students and teams where everyone began as a college novice and
several in between.  The travel schedule certainly changed depending on the
distribution of students, but there can be value in every model of team
experience distribution.

I'll also add that one of the factors that motivates novices (in high school
or college actually) through the first two years is the incentive that if
they work through those years there will be success in the latter years of
their career at a much higher level than they see right now.  Even if the
first two years are all that matters, which I don't concede, I think you'll
see some discouraged students if there's no hypothetical outlet for them
down the road.


On 7/17/07, NEIL BERCH <berchnorto at msn.com> wrote:
>  1.  In times of scarce resources, choices need to be made.  Obviously,
> Matt and I agree that the debate share of the higher ed pie should, but
> larger, but it isn't.
> 2.  Matt is a case for Joe P.'s argument that I'm not factoring in those
> who stay longer and then give back as coaches.
> Nothing absolute, but I still believe in the general principles in the
> face of limited resources.--Neil
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* matt stannard <stannardmatt at hotmail.com>
> *To:* NEIL BERCH <berchnorto at msn.com> ; edebate at www.ndtceda.com ; Joe
> Patrice <joepatrice at gmail.com>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, July 17, 2007 3:52 PM
> *Subject:* RE: [eDebate] to be more blunt
> 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.
> stannard
> ------------------------------
> From: berchnorto at msn.com
> To: edebate at www.ndtceda.com; joepatrice at gmail.com
> Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 15:07:27 -0400
> Subject: 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 <joepatrice at gmail.com>
> *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.
> Joe
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