[eDebate] Format elitism is dumber than the Tyra Show (AT: scott)

Jason Jarvis debatekorea
Fri Jun 20 02:45:27 CDT 2008



> Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2008 19:54:57 -0500
> From: scottelliott at grandecom.net
> To: edebate at ndtceda.com
> Subject: [eDebate]  Intl Debate Academy 2008
> 
> In your zeal for international debate stardom, have you abandoned high school cx
> debate the same way you have abandoned college policy debate?
> 
> Scott Elliott

This is truly one of the lamest questions I have read in a long time.

FYI: NO ONE else on the planet does policy debate.  The lone exception to that statement being Japan.  Ironically, if you go to Japan you will discover that in replicating policy, they have also replicated the idiotic policy vs. parli divide that you seem to think is a good thing.  It has inhibited the growth of debate there and split their community (sound familiar?).

Upon arriving in Korea, I spent about one month trying to teach policy debate to non-native speakers and then realized it was a foolish thing to do: (a) because it wasn't necessary, and (b) because it had the potential of isolating Korea from the rest of the world.  

Debate is about teaching people how to think critically and to argue.  Much of what happens in policy debate (in terms of convention), is truly irrelevant to doing that, and only serves to inhibit the educational process for a lot of students, non-native speakers in particular.  

Taken from that perspective, I would suggest that there are some strong reasons to not do policy.  At the Asian Championship in Bangladesh in May, Dr. Snider and I had the profound pleasure of watching an Indian team debate a Pakistani team on the topic of Buddhist orders ordaining women as monks in the semi-finals of the competition.  The fact that they were in a Parli debate hardly diminished either the power of their arguments or the educational value of the debate (it was an awesome debate, btw). 

Undoubtedly, policy debate has merits.  I have personally watched Tuna defend policy debate in front of large groups of extremely skeptical (and occasionally derisive) groups of people from other countries.  You probably don't know that policy debate is a dirty word in international circles.  Many people feel it isn't actually "debate" because it has utterly abandoned any hope of teaching the art of rhetoric and public speaking for a focus on speed and technicality.  Tuna and I would both disagree with the suggestion that policy is bad debate, but it is a standard critique that is often taken as fact internationally.

In fact, we would both agree that format elitism is moronic.  However, to ignore that your preferred version of debate has isolated the policy community from the rest of the planet is sort of myopic as well (the international debate tours, far from disproving my claim have reinforced the negative perceptions of policy in international circles).

As is often the case, Scott, you have no idea what you are talking about and are largely ignorant of the thousands of students that Dr. Snider has educated around the world.  Tuna is respected internationally by many people, but that is due to his teaching, judging and willingness to help others.  He is a visionary and role model, and were it not for the World Debate Institute, the thriving debate community here in Korea and the Asian Debate Institute (which has participants from 14 countries and 25 universities this year) would not exist.

Regardless of whether he "supports" CX at the level you like, he supports DEBATE, which in all its forms is a GOOD THING. 


Jason L. Jarvis



ADI 2008
http://asiandebateinstitute.com

Assistant Dean and Lecturer,

Korea Development Institute Graduate School of Public Policy and Management

http://www.kdischool.ac.kr/



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