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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 14: Forensics as an Application of Small Group Interaction (Kristopher Copeland)


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Forensics as an Application of Small Group Interaction



Taylor stated “the forensics team should become a study in small group process for both the student participants and the [communication studies] departments.”1 In the 40 years since Taylor’s article, researchers have studied the small group experience of forensics in a variety of capacities, such as team socialization, organizational and team culture, and team building.2 However, further research is merited to continuously expand our knowledge of the small group process in relation to contemporary forensics.

While forensic educators point to the experience as an application for the group process, there is a gap in the literature regarding student perspectives that describe and explain the forensic experience as an educational practice of small group interaction. Therefore, this study describes how students (un)intentionally apply small group theoretical concepts while engaged in forensic experiences. The findings from this study are useful for forensic programs to expand past the tournament experience and further develop disciplinary understandings of what students take away from the activity.


The forensic experience is an application of small group interaction. Often, forensic teams are composed of multiple members who spend time bonding through an experience. Taylor described forensics as an experience in small group ← 153 | 154 → communication because team members “are interacting with one another in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced...

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