Meet Christopher Medina |
Debate Definitions |
by Shannon LaBove, Former Wiley College Director of Forensics
One of my favorite analogies and life philosophies comes from Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War in which he describes how troops should work on developing strength through the utilization of their full potential:
“Men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, but if round-shaped, to go rolling down. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet in height.”
I think that we all have the potential to do amazing things but never get that direction to help us truly develop our natural abilities to the fullest. It is my goal to help students recognize that latent potential, or round those stones, and direct them in becoming explosive, confident and competitive communicators. By developing the student’s individual potential, we are increasing the competitiveness of the team, teaching them more effective communication in real situations and helping students understand that speech is more than just a class. It is a doorway leading to future job, personal and educational opportunities.
My initial goal with the team is to encourage just that…a team. A true team bond means that you will spend hours working, laughing and arguing together. I have a young team with so much talent, and I can really see great things happening in the near future. Any coach can tell you, however, that a team is so much more than just potential. It is the actualization of that potential into active learning. My team works hard and is comprised of good-hearted, but ridiculously competitive, people. My overall goal for them is to be able to understand the concepts of competitive debating and to be proud of themselves when executing those concepts.
While there are a number of debate styles, the two in which Wiley College will compete are the Parliamentary style of debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate. These are two of the most popular styles of debate in Texas, and both are commonly offered at State and National Competitions. These are not the most cost effective styles of debate but are formatted similarly to those portrayed in The Great Debaters. Eloquence, research, and an ability to think quickly characterize both levels of debate and have real world application.
According to the National Parliamentary Debate Association, a different resolution, or topic pertaining to current affairs or philosophy, will be presented to the debaters fifteen minutes prior to the debate round. The resolutions are general enough that a well-educated college student can debate them. The proposition team must affirm the resolution by presenting and defending a sufficient case for that resolution. The opposition team must oppose the resolution and/or the proposition team’s case. Published information cannot be brought into the debating chambers, but debaters may refer to any information that is within the realm of knowledge of liberally educated and informed citizens. Judges will decide on the winner of the round and will award each speaker individual points based on the quality of their individual argumentation.
A Lincoln-Douglas debate, sponsored by the National Forensic Association, is a one-on-one, persuasive debate in which competitors either affirm or negate a policy. They are evaluated on their analysis, use of published evidence, and ability to effectively and persuasively organize, deliver, and refute arguments. LD speeches should be pleasant, comprehensible, and persuasive, and the delivery and quantity of evidence should not be excessive.
It is important to note that many people claim that persuasiveness is being lost in some forms of debate. However, I would argue that every debate, regardless of the type of argument, can provide an educational opportunity and truly show the mental flexibility, wittiness, and work ethic of today’s youth. I am fortunate enough to get to work with the best of the best, and I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity.