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Competition, Community, and Educational Growth

Contemporary Perspectives on Competitive Speech and Debate

Edited By Kristopher Copeland and Garret L. Castleberry

Competition, Community, and Educational Growth: Contemporary Perspectives on Competitive Speech and Debate is an up-to-date text providing informed academic thought concerning the impact of forensics. Its primary focus is to demonstrate how the forensic activity allows students to actively engage and learn outside the classroom. Specifically, Competition, Community, and Educational Growth focuses on how students educationally grow through the activity. The book frames methods and pedagogy as best practices to provide educational growth for students and explicitly connect learning outcomes for students. Coming from the perspective of higher educational instructors, the book provides insight beyond the high school experience. Competition, Community, and Educational Growth examines contemporary perspectives on competitive speech and debate theory, experience, and methods of instruction.

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Chapter 6: Using Mentorship to Develop a Positive Debate Team Culture (Daniel E. Schabot)


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Using Mentorship to Develop a Positive Debate Team Culture



Typically, faculty coaches take on additional responsibilities to gain the opportunity to mentor students in forensics. In this chapter, I ground my writing in reflexivity more than recorded theory by sharing research, experience, and practice that allows the reader to become better debate mentors. To describe a debate team mentorship model for coaching, I illustrate why we coach, highlight barriers to the mentorship model, and offer strategies for overcoming those barriers.


Debate allows students to learn in new contexts that we aspire to create in an academic setting. Over the years, I have heard several academic buzz terms in meetings including student-centered approach, flipping the classroom, and edutainment. These approaches attack the traditional lecture format and encourage faculty to replace the lecture with applied student-driven activities. Classroom debates, intercollegiate debate, and forensics create an environment for student centered and student-driven learning. Thus, there are direct student benefits from participating on a debate team. I chose to coach debate for years because of these benefits. When one coaches, the student benefits are very motivating.

First, debate is a space where authentic learning takes places.1 Authentic learning is loosely defined as learning by doing.2 To be fully immersed in debate, one ← 67 | 68 → must participate in the activity. No amount of debate theory lectures can take the...

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