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 Pitiful

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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Mon May 05, 2014 7:34 pm

Wow, after seeing the second video I'm convinced that I don't understand what debate competitions entail. There must be something I'm missing. Seriously. It's as if ridiculous delivery is part of the show. Perhaps theatrics is part of it?

Can someone explain?

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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Mon May 05, 2014 7:35 pm

No Peeb, you're not allowed to back out. Gotta stick it out.

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puros_bran
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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Mon May 05, 2014 7:38 pm

I don't back out that their content was hate filled and extremely racist.
I back out because I don't know what I thought I knew about the topic and I am honest enough to admit it.
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Richard Burley

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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 1:44 am

Whatever the content, if you can ascertain any, and whatever the alleged usefulness of this "debate" method, I still maintain that these kids are getting screwed. This isn't a "black" thing; apparently they have sucked all races into this, judging by the postings on YouTube.

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huffelpuff

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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 10:54 am

As near as I can figure presentation doesn't make a damned bit of difference! They must provide a transcript of their arguments to the judges and as long as they complete their presentation within the time limits then the judges would be basing the winner on having read the transcribed arguments and did they finish what they had to say? Holy run on sentences Batman!!!! Screw it if they can do it so can I!

Jim
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APKurt

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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 2:47 pm

It's easy to imagine how these competitions evolve (devolve?) into this. The debaters have a time limit to present their opening statements and subsequent responses. Naturally, providing the most possible information in the allotted time both enables you to flush out your argument in greater detail but also gives your competition more that they have to respond to during their time allotment. I believe that the transcript of each party's argument is available to the competition at the time of the debate and whatever you can speak aloud in the allotted time is fair game.

The purpose of the debate is obviously not to develop public speaking skills, it is to develop reasoning skills: to be able to build an effective argument while anticipating and responding to your opponent's objections under extreme time pressure. This means that you must spend a great many hours preparing to present your case as completely but efficiently as possible while also predicting any holes that your opponent may seek to exploit.

It obviously sounds a little silly when you just hear snippets of the debaters speaking. However, when you think about what the exercise is meant to achieve and if you recognize that the nature of competition is to push everything to the extreme for the maximum advantage, it's easy to see how it can end up like this.
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Stick

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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 5:18 pm

APKurt wrote:
It's easy to imagine how these competitions evolve (devolve?) into this.  The debaters have a time limit to present their opening statements and subsequent responses.  Naturally, providing the most possible information in the allotted time both enables you to flush out your argument in greater detail but also gives your competition more that they have to respond to during their time allotment.  I believe that the transcript of each party's argument is available to the competition at the time of the debate and whatever you can speak aloud in the allotted time is fair game.

The purpose of the debate is obviously not to develop public speaking skills, it is to develop reasoning skills: to be able to build an effective argument while anticipating and responding to your opponent's objections under extreme time pressure.  This means that you must spend a great many hours preparing to present your case as completely but efficiently as possible while also predicting any holes that your opponent may seek to exploit.      

It obviously sounds a little silly when you just hear snippets of the debaters speaking.  However, when you think about what the exercise is meant to achieve and if you recognize that the nature of competition is to push everything to the extreme for the maximum advantage, it's easy to see how it can end up like this.

Agreed. But surely the learning establishment needs to take some responsibility for developing the debaters' presentation technique? After all, the way in which a point is articulated is as compelling as the content (if not more so). Can you imagine what the response of an employer's leadership team would be when they invite the comments of one of the debaters featured in this thread and are subjected to the type of behaviour demonstrated? 'Thank you for that, now there's the door'.
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APKurt

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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 6:06 pm

Stick wrote:

Agreed.  But surely the learning establishment needs to take some responsibility for developing the debaters' presentation technique?  After all, the way in which a point is articulated is as compelling as the content (if not more so).  Can you imagine what the response of an employer's leadership team would be when they invite the comments of one of the debaters featured in this thread and are subjected to the type of behaviour demonstrated?  'Thank you for that, now there's the door'.

I understand your point but that is why there is a difference between "speech" and "debate" competitions. The same way there is a difference between "sprinting" and "cross-country" competitions. If you knew absolutely nothing about track and field and you saw a marathoner running you might wonder "How can this guy be a world-record holder? I know high school students who can run faster than him! This guy is pitiful!" Of course the runner in question is choosing a particular style of running that is suited to his competition. Is it the most appropriate style for a 50-meter sprint? Of course not, but that's an entirely different type of competition.

Speech: Oratory competition
Debate: Debate competition

From the above Wiki: "Policy debaters' speed of delivery will vary from league to league and tournament to tournament. The debaters who speak most quickly speak at rates of 350 to in excess of 500 words per minute. In many tournaments, debaters will speak very quickly in order to read as much evidence and make as many arguments as possible within the time-constrained speech. Speed reading is referred to as spreading. At the majority of national circuit policy debate tournaments, spreading is the norm."
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Stick

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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 6:29 pm

APKurt wrote:
Stick wrote:

Agreed.  But surely the learning establishment needs to take some responsibility for developing the debaters' presentation technique?  After all, the way in which a point is articulated is as compelling as the content (if not more so).  Can you imagine what the response of an employer's leadership team would be when they invite the comments of one of the debaters featured in this thread and are subjected to the type of behaviour demonstrated?  'Thank you for that, now there's the door'.

I understand your point but that is why there is a difference between "speech" and "debate" competitions.  The same way there is a difference between "sprinting" and "cross-country" competitions.  If you knew absolutely nothing about track and field and you saw a marathoner running you might wonder "How can this guy be a world-record holder? I know high school students who can run faster than him! This guy is pitiful!"  Of course the runner in question is choosing a particular style of running that is suited to his competition.  Is it the most appropriate style for a 50-meter sprint?  Of course not, but that's an entirely different type of competition.

Speech: Oratory competition
Debate: Debate competition

From the above Wiki: "Policy debaters' speed of delivery will vary from league to league and tournament to tournament. The debaters who speak most quickly speak at rates of 350 to in excess of 500 words per minute. In many tournaments, debaters will speak very quickly in order to read as much evidence and make as many arguments as possible within the time-constrained speech. Speed reading is referred to as spreading. At the majority of national circuit policy debate tournaments, spreading is the norm."

Ok, with you there, and here's another thought...

In my view there is no way you can understand what someone is saying if they're speaking at a rate of 500 words/minute. This then begs the question, why bother with the debater speaking when the panel has the transcript? Just have them there to answer any questions...
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APKurt

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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 7:07 pm

Stick wrote:


Ok, with you there, and here's another thought...

In my view there is no way you can understand what someone is saying if they're speaking at a rate of 500 words/minute.  This then begs the question, why bother with the debater speaking when the panel has the transcript?  Just have them there to answer any questions...

That's a valid point... I suppose that the competitions just gradually evolved into this. Competitors probably started noticing that the faster speakers had an advantage and they started pushing the envelope to gain an edge. Obviously they don't want to do away with the rules all-together. As long as everybody is playing by the same rules and the students are gaining the necessary experience in building and defending an argument then I suppose they figure why make wholesale changes.

Plus, I imagine the speed reading component makes the competition more fun for the competitors. I'm certain the young man from Harvard spent hours practicing his speed reading technique and probably gets enjoyment out of the experience. Most people who have practiced a difficult task for many hours have experienced the "zone" you get into and the pleasure you can derive from working at something challenging.

The students obviously get something positive out of these debate competitions or they wouldn't compete. If an outside observer thinks it's ridiculous that's fine...the observer shouldn't sign up for a debate competition. But if the students who participate like the challenge of the arguments and the speed reading component makes it more fun for them then I say "go for it!" If someone prefers a traditional oratory competition then those exist too.
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 7:08 pm

Thanks for the info AP.

It seems like the event, especially policy debating, has taken on it's own customs which appear ridiculous to an outsider, but perfectly logical (and perhaps necessary) within the competition itself. In other words, the initial premise, speaking, has become secondary to content. You just have to do it orally, but nobody really has to understand it because they have a transcript. That keeps it technically a debate I suppose.

It's akin to the blurbs of high-speed, compressed legalese at the end of pharmaceutical advertisements. You just have to state it in order to meet the legal requirement of full disclsure. Whether you can understand it or not is unimportant.

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APKurt

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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 7:16 pm

MisterE wrote:
Thanks for the info AP.

It seems like the event, especially policy debating, has taken on it's own customs which appear ridiculous to an outsider, but perfectly logical (and perhaps necessary) within the competition itself. In other words, the initial premise, speaking, has become a secondary to content. You just have to do it orally, but nobody really has to understand it because they have a transcript. That keeps it technically a debate I suppose.

It's akin to the blurbs of high-speed, compressed legalese at the end of pharmaceutical advertisements. You just have to state it in order to meet the legal requirement of full disclsure. Whether you can understand it or not is unimportant.

Exactly!  Stated much more concisely that I ever could.  I tend to rambled on which is why I don't compete in these silly debate competitions as an adult lol!
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KevinM



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PostSubject: Re: Pitiful   Tue May 06, 2014 8:57 pm

Well, debate is a judged sport, so it easily takes on a specialized style meant for debate judges though it might be lost on a wider audience. A lot depends on exactly what it is for which judges are awarding or deducting points. To me, this examp seems to blur the line between debate and an SNL routine. Maybe that's what it takes these days to get kids to go out for the debate team.
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