Its debatable…Speak Up!

November 18, 2007

Staying motivated without tournaments…

Filed under: Debate,Forensics - General — bk2nocal @ 1:03 am

This time of year is sometimes difficult, with weeks before the next tournament, finals approaching and holidays on the horizon. Often students lose focus and research and practice become non-existent. So, how is one to keep the motivation going? I think a couple of things can help:

1) Have some incentives in place. During the time when tournaments happen often, they offer their own competitive incentives, but during this time, you may have a card cutting contest or an impromptu speech practice contest (who can give the most impromptu practice speeches in the next month) or a work day with pizza or desserts. Try to schedule these things intermittently during the time off from tournaments.

2) Set goals RIGHT NOW for next semester. Don’t wait until the next semester starts. Have your students set some goals now and then translate those into things they can do NOW to meet those goals.

3) Schedule practice debates/speech times and run them with multiple judges to give the most possible feedback. You might use this time to do some start/stop debates and speeches. Where you stop the student and make them start over until the speech is near-perfect. This is a frustrating process and can be a slight blow to self-esteem (I remember crying during my first start/stop round – out of total frustration), so it isn’t good to do when a tournament is approaching, but with weeks to recover, this can be a great time to really hone specific areas of speeches that need it.

4) Schedule a speech night. This is especially good for forcing IEers into staying “warm” with their speeches. And its a great way to get the word out on campus about your team. Send out invitations to the big wigs on campus and do a campus-wide announcement and some flyers and have a sprinkling of events, providing variety. The debaters can do a short demo debate as well, but it won’t be as “real” as the IEer experience.

5) Schedule some intersquad debates/speech rounds with other schools in the area. If you have programs in the area, you can spend an afternoon/evening running through a debate or a round of speeches and give everyone some feedback, while developing some relationships that may not otherwise get developed.

These are just a few ideas. I’m sure there are many others. If anyone out there has some they would like to add, please put them in the comments area!


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