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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 10: Embracing the Dichotomy: Balancing Competitive and Educational Goals Within Forensic Program Management (Scott Jensen)

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CHAPTER   TEN

Embracing the Dichotomy: Balancing Competitive and Educational Goals Within Forensic Program Management

SCOTT JENSEN

 

While the face of forensics changes, the central questions related to directing a program change very little. A number of questions ranging from program outcomes to managing budgets are critical, but the most important consideration for any program is how the director uses his/her values, beliefs, and vision as a compass for navigating the maze of choices they must make as an administrator, coach, and educator. In my own experience, I directed my programs as a steward of my institution’s resources and trust in me as a professional. I struggled with the tension of being competitive by nature, but valuing student growth and voice as the most compelling evidence of learning. The choices a program director must make are not always easy. As an illustration of my own worldview as one who fulfilled these same roles for over three decades, I will use the term “coach/educator” when I reference any forensic professional. The term speaks to an essential assumption within this chapter. Administrators must acknowledge two overarching outcomes for any forensic program—competition and education. What unites both is pedagogy, or teaching.

This chapter examines the complementary relationship between competition and education, arguing that a pedagogically sound and competitively successful program benefits from the intentional integration of each into program choices. In looking at the challenges of balancing an educational...

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