The Honest Process – Questions to Keep You Going

This year, I'm feeling extremely privileged as I work with some new students who are actively pursuing what I like to call the "honest process." When I said those words to one of the moms, she asked, "What does that mean, exactly?" For me, the honest process is something original and organic and student driven. I'll reference some of the conversations I've had with students....

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Cross X Series #4: Keys to Undermining your Opponent’s Case by: Samuel Hand

CX designed to undermine your opponent’s case is a lot like CX designed to support your case, with two key differences: you don’t know what your opponent is running ahead of time, and the questions aren’t written beforehand (usually). Judging from these differences, you may think that you’re doomed to wait until you hear your opponent’s case and then pray you come up with something intelligent to ask… let me discourage this thinking. While you can have strokes of brilliance in the moment, just ​thinking​ a bit about the resolution can give an idea of what you might want to ask.

Much like I can’t tell you what questions to ask to support your debate cases specifically, I can’t know what your opponents are going to run. However, I can give you the keys (learned over the course of several years) to attacking your opponent’s case in CX.

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Cross X Series #3: Solidifying your own Case by: Samuel Hand

You have an inherent advantage when writing questions to build up your own case: you know exactly what you’re running in said case. This means that, with proper guidance, you can know exactly what to ask. While I can’t tell you which questions to write for your specific case, I can give you some principles which will hopefully make those questions much easier to formulate. Before I do, though, let me tell you what not to do.

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Mechanics of Cross X – Asking and Answering Questions by: Samuel Hand

I hope you found the last installment (purposes of cross-examination) helpful! Of course, understanding what you should aim to accomplish in CX is crucial to actually being effective in your rounds — but head knowledge means nothing unless you can actually implement it. The first question of implementation is this: how should you conduct yourself in cross-ex?

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Purposes of Cross Examination by: Samuel Hand

What if we spoke less and listened more? It seems like a silly question to ask in the context of competitive speech and debate, but fortunately for us, in debate it includes a built-in Q&A segment after each constructive speech. Debate is often thought of in terms of argument, counterargument, counter-counterargument, and so on — and it is therefore easy to overlook those three minutes of Q&A after each constructive. However, those six (for LD) or twelve (for TP) minutes may be more important than any speech in the round…

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It’s Speech Season… but what event should I do?

The Speech and Debate season is officially started - clubs have begun to meet, students are meeting with their coaches, preparations for the upcoming season are underway, and while competitions may seem far, far away to you right now, these next couple of months are actually critical time for the students who arrive at that first competition invested and ready. So, how to begin? Where to start? How do you decide what events you are going to do?

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Pace your Race to the Finish

If you've taken a nice hard look at the schedule for the NCFCA National Championship this year, you know that the pace of the tournament is a LOT slower than usual for competitors.  More time is built in between rounds.  Two days are short days of competition.  Including Moot Court, the tournament will last for six days.  In my tenure, this is an uprecedented pace, and it is one you should definitely factor into your own personal approach for stamina and optimum performance.

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The Harms of the Compliance Mentality (JO)

I've been involved with my home school speech league for ten years.  Before that, I taught public school where I coached in a different league.  Before THAT, I competed myself in yet another league.  All of those leagues have operated  with rules.  Honestly, no one really loves rules.  We understand the importance of them in maintaining a level playing field, but we don't really love them.  Our human nature longs to kick against them and give ourselves more room.  And when we do, we are in error.  Becoming hyper sensitive to rules and every potential violation of those rules is the equal but opposite error.  It creates a litigious environment where we are on the look-out for rules violators we can haul off to the compliance team to be punished.   There are some dangerous harms in leaning to that side of the balance...

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