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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 8: Passing the Torch: Coaching Future Coaches in the Contemporary World of Forensics (Laura Jacobi)


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Passing the Torch: Coaching Future Coaches in the Contemporary World of Forensics



There is no doubt that forensics is valuable to both competitors and coaches—at the secondary education level and collegiate circuit. With the skills learned and developed, forensics mirrors traditional academic curriculum more closely than other extracurricular activities. For example, research points to reasoning, making decisions, engaging in complex and critical thinking, conducting research, using evidence, and making connections as core skills involved in forensics.1 Other research reveals public speaking, argument development, refutation, and interpretive study as pertinent skills learned.2 There is also evidence that forensics creates value beyond skill development. In the debate over whether forensics is education or competition, the debate is immaterial because “both lead to a higher level, which should be the ultimate goal; that higher level is knowledge.”3 In other words, because forensics creates knowledge through experience, it is epistemic. Being epistemic, forensics is “creative, created in context, provides certainty, involves coping and strategizing, is processual, develops arguments, and prompts cultural adaptation.”4 It is not surprising then that speech and debate students are more likely to graduate high school, attend rigorous colleges, and advocate more effectively.5

In addition to academic development, forensics plays an instrumental role in the development of empathy.6 Students encounter multiple perspectives while they conduct the research required for their topics. Through consideration of varying perspectives, students may develop increased...

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