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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 9: Exploring Virtue Ethics Through Contemporary Speech Activities (Kevin Minch)


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Exploring Virtue Ethics Through Contemporary Speech Activities



While questions of value are tested across forensic genres, and ethical dilemmas are raised by competition, opportunities to explore an important body of philosophy—virtue ethics—are sub-surface. Virtue ethics, a body of ethics focused on virtuous behavior, has equivalents in several philosophical traditions. Students are typically exposed to Aristotle’s treatment of virtues, and his “mean.” Despite the classical focus, the larger body of virtue scholarship has experienced a resurgence. This is timely for forensics both for its introduction of a facet of rhetoric-relevant scholarship, and because of its potential to aid students rehearsing values important to their future professional and social lives.

I argue that the convergence of competitive forensics and virtue ethics presents two important opportunities. First, analysis of current literature and events helps students attach contemporary relevance to classical virtue models unfolding examination of a topic—ethics—often seen as central to liberal education. Second, studying virtue ethics in contemporary contexts affords students fresh insight into dramatic characters and social actors whose behaviors are explored and critiqued through forensic performance. Elaboration of these opportunities are illustrated throughout with the vantage points represented by example selection in impromptu speaking, character development in interpretation, and evaluation of actors’ motives in extemporaneous speaking. Some foregrounding in the fundamentals of virtue ethics is necessary before exploring these applications. ← 95 | 96 →


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