Cyndy Woodhouse ParadigmLast changed 6/12 10:58A CDT
Debate is educational. It's meant to be a means to learn communication and persuasive techniques to help you in the future, as well as to serve you competitively for now. To that end, I have some specific preferences with regards to presentation, argumentation, and humanity.
* Stand while you speak. I don't want to stare at the top of your head or the back of a laptop. If your case/flow/arguments are on your computer, learn how to hold it so you can speak TO me, not AT me.
* Speak in a conversational way. I will not try to muddle through speed and work harder to figure out what you're saying than I do in a general interaction. Your purpose is to articulate and persuade, not throw out as much information as possible to see what sticks.
* I do not allow flex prep. If you're doing cross-examination, you're asking questions. If you're preparing for a speech, focus on that. If you disregard this, I will take ALL (questioning and prep time) out of the allotted prep time, not a combination of questioning and prep.
* Do NOT "roadmap" your speeches. There isn't so much information being discussed that you need to start by saying "I'll start with the NC and then move on to the AC." When you start speaking, I start the timer and my timer is the law of the round. Don't waste it. Start your speech with a landmark "Let's begin with the negative case's flaws."
* Make eye contact with me as though I'm your audience. Because I'm a person...and your audience.
* Remember that I am a living, breathing, thinking, rational individual. I am not a computer into which you feed arguments and expect a decision to be spit out. I have opinions, beliefs, and biases. I try my best to overcome those while adjudicating a debate, however, control over the subconscious only goes so far. Anyone who tells you that they are a blank slate is in denial. I have voted for arguments with which I do not directly agree because they were well-reasoned and insufficiently challenged.
* Debate the topic. If you're uninterested in the subject area you have been given, believe that the Wording Committee has made an egregious error in wording, or think that even discussing the topic focus will somehow marginalize certain groups, take that up with the NSDA or the tournament. This means DO NOT RUN KRITIKS IN FRONT OF ME BECAUSE I WILL DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER NOT TO VOTE FOR THEM.
* Use strategy, not spewing. I do not keep a traditional flow, so talking about specific places on the paper where you're making arguments will not be helpful. Instead, feel free to start a speech by telling me what you believe the underlying conflict between the two positions to be, where they overlap, and what you need to do to resolve that conflict in your favor. Then, talk about how you do that.
* I'm still a fan of the value/criterion structure when they mean something. Don't just give them at the start of the case and then never refer to them again. The purpose of the V/C is to establish a way to filter arguments. This should be an easy way to show me how your arguments not only matter, but relate back to the resolution.
* Please don't refer to arguments by the names of authors whose evidence you use. I will not call for cards at the end of a debate and I focus on the substance and logic of the things you're saying, not the logical fallacy of the "authority" your evidence brings to the debate. Use the evidence to support what you're saying, not to make the argument for you.
* Treat one another with respect. You might be adversaries in a debate round, but that's not forever, and you're still people. Not only is your reputation on the line, but you're representing your school and community. Be kind. Be civil. Rudeness and condescension will not only lose you speaker points (for which I am famous for being stingy), but could cost you the round.
* Treat me with respect. Please don't refer to me as "judge." Make eye contact with me to indicate that you're ready to begin. Speak with me during the round through your arguments. Please do not try to shake my hand at the end of the debate because it intrudes on my personal space and seems like you're trying to take a look at my ballot.
* At the end of the debate, if you're given an oral critique, take notes. I will not disclose (unless it's elims) because the point of a critique is to offer feedback for subsequent rounds, not to give you a decision. If you're not interested in comments and suggestions, just a decision, I would prefer that you simply excuse yourself after the debate and leave the room, rather than sitting there with your arms crossed, looking bored because you won't find out if you won or lost.
* Your argumentation reflects the kind of person you are. I'm not super-sensitive about arguments, but be conscious of how you say things or to whom you direct them.
* Demeanor in a debate should be like you're a guest in the Congressional gallery or preparing for an important interview. Act formally. Speak formally. Interact generously with the other humans in the room. The better you act, the better your first impression.
I'm excited to be back in an activity I love and value, and I can't wait to see what you can do with it!
HERE IS MY OLD PARADIGM FROM WIKISPACES. IT IS LARGELY STILL TRUE, THOUGH I SEEM TO BE MORE CYNICAL NOW THAN BEFORE.
I am a former LD debater from Bettendorf, IA. I coached LD all through college and have been coaching since graduation. I have coached programs at Bettendorf HS, Vestavia Hills HS, and Iowa City West HS. I am currently teaching and coaching at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, IA. I have been judging since I graduated high school (1998)
I would like to see debaters develop solidly organized and reasoned cases around one central theme. I would prefer to see contentions focusing on single arguments and better developing the theories behind the arguments instead of trying to fill the contention with a series of blips.
I would also like to see debaters use a more philosophical approach to the debate instead of merely pragmatic applications of arguments. Given the context of the resolution to the abstract, I would like to see debaters give some thought to the philosophical underpinnings of the concepts of the resolution as opposed to every day application. I like to see philosophy-based cases and well-thought out arguments.
I believe the value and criterion ought to be the central focus of the arguments within the debate. I would prefer that in addition to impacting back to initial claims, debaters spend time relating arguments back to the criterion as a way to achieve the value. Values and criteria ought not be after-thoughts in the debate, nor should they be things that the debater just tries to “win.” I prefer to see direct relationships drawn.
I appreciate evidence used to support arguments, however, I do not want debaters to extend “cards” because most pieces of evidence are not the crux of the argument being made. Instead, I would prefer to see debaters focus on the argumentation as a whole, including the evidence, but to discuss their own claims and warrants first. Evidence is not a good enough reason for me to accept or reject an argument.
I will listen to most arguments and try not to allow my personal perceptions enter into my decisions, however, I will reject a position which would require me to endorse a particularly repugnant argument (i.e. it’s ok to commit genocide in the name of organized religion if that’s what the people want). I don’t particularly like kritiks and probably subconsciously look for a reason to not vote for them.
I don't like theory unless there's a HUGE abuse in-round, and even then, the abuse argument should not be the primary response.
I don’t like external roadmapping. This means that at the beginning of each speech, I start keeping time when the debater starts talking, so if the first thing the debater says is “I’ll start with the neg and then go aff,” that’s all being timed. Instead, I would prefer contextual roadmaps. This means that the debaters will begin the speech by saying something like “Before looking at the affirmative case, let’s look at the value/criterion clash.”
At the start of each speech, I find it much more persuasive and helpful to begin by saying
o What the opponent’s position says
o What the debater’s own position says
o Where the conflict is between the two
o What the debater believes s/he has to prove to resolve that conflict in his/her favor.
I would prefer to see debaters engage in strategically planned rebuttals and refutation instead of trying to go for everything on the flow. I don’t like to have to resolve a bunch of stuff for myself at the end of the round, so I would like to see debaters make an attempt to resolve substantive issues in summary of the round.
I am not a fan of crystallization down the flow in the NR. I would rather hear coverage of important issues and then focus on specific voting issues. In rebuttals, it would be most helpful to begin by resolving the value/criterion clash and then giving a little overview which explains how the clash between the two positions will be resolved in terms of the value and criterion of the side speaking.
I don’t just vote on drops on face, so extending arguments isn’t enough for me to vote on them/for you to win. I would like to hear specific impacts and weighing as to:
o Why the drops are significant
o How they apply to the overall position of the debater
o How they will affect the rest of the round
o How they weight against the drops/arguments of the opponent
I do not like speed. I don’t think it’s necessary. In general, I think that debate has become less persuasive and strategic and has sort of become about throwing a bunch of stuff at the judge to see what sticks. I give higher speaker points to individuals who attempt to adapt and focus on strategy and positional debate as opposed to a flowing contest. I do use the entire speaker point scale when allowed by the tab room, so please do not expect the 27-30/46-50 unless you are nearly or completely flawless. I will consider JV and novices on a different scale. I have not given a 30/50 in several years.
OTHER STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ME
I don't typically flow anymore. When I do, it's not a rigorous flow and is mostly just notes about key arguments and clash.
I think the communicative aspect of this activity is important and appreciate good engagement of argumentation done clearly. I prefer not to flow most of the debate and will spend a majority of the time writing on the ballot or simply watching and listening. Make eye contact with me. Keep it simple and clear. Debate with some humanity and generosity for your opponent and yourself. Debate isn't just about what comes out of your mouth, but what goes into the ears of your audience and they're not always the same things.
Good luck and feel free to ask specific questions before the debate!