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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 17: Meeting Students Where They Are: Using Social Justice as a Call for Participation (Ruth J. Beerman / Shavonne R. Shorter)


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Meeting Students Where They Are: Using Social Justice as a Call for Participation



Creating a new debate program offers challenges and opportunities. Much of collegiate debate focuses on policy debate (including the National Debate Tournament and Cross-Examination Debate Association circuits), parliamentary debate (such as the National Parliamentary Debate Association or International Forensics Association), and/or Lincoln-Douglas debate (including the National Forensic Association, among others). These debate models typically involve multiple competitions during the year. If a school or organization wants to begin a new program and be competitively successful, it requires an investment. This investment includes hiring coaches and providing financial resources for team travel. The best teams also tend to have students with prior debate experience. Indeed, in a 2014 survey of debate, Jarman noted that competitive success and expenses are positively correlated.1 The institutions most likely to have debate programs today are large universities, followed by regional institutions.2 Thus, it may be difficult for smaller colleges or organizations to develop a new program.

This chapter focuses on a different collegiate level debate model—the recently formed Frederick Douglass Institute Debate Society (hereafter Debate Society) in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. This debate model assumes that anyone can coach and that any student can debate by developing a community to craft an educational experience. Unlike more traditional models of competition that involve multiple tournaments, the...

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