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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 19: Forensics as Culture: Navigation and Assimilation (Chad Kuyper)


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Forensics as Culture: Navigation and Assimilation



“I qualled my CA at the first half of the swing, so I’m dropping it today. And if I break in POI and pick up my third leg, I won’t need to worry about districts. Say, do you have another schemat? I left mine in extemp prep.”1

To those unfamiliar with intercollegiate speech competition, the preceding sentences may as well be in a foreign language. Students and coaches who are new to the forensic activity find themselves caught up in a vertiginous atmosphere full of jargon, strange customs, and unwritten rules of conduct that are given huge importance. This feeling of disorientation is not unlike that experienced by a new arrival in an unfamiliar culture. Recent cultural transplants often report similar feelings of confusion and unease. So how do coaches, especially those with little experience in the world of forensics, best equip students to adapt to this new and challenging communicative environment?

Forensics offers insights into numerous disciplines within the communication field.2 The world of competitive intercollegiate speech and debate can provide a valuable laboratory for students to gain an understanding of organizational communication, small group communication, interpersonal communication, and rhetorical analysis.3 However, students need to eventually feel comfortable at tournaments in order to stay in the activity long enough to glean these benefits. The field of intercultural communication offers many useful avenues...

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