WDM Valley Spring Junior High Debate
Invitation and Details
West Des Moines Valley High School will host a one-day Spring Junior High Debate event on April 30, 2022. Any school is welcome to join us for a fun day of debating.
This will be a hybrid event. While we prefer in-person attendance, we welcome online participants. If your school will be participating online, please email tournament host Dave McGinnis to let him know: email@example.com
TOPIC: Resolved: States ought to ban lethal autonomous weapons
FORMAT: Modified Public Forum format
• PF speech times
• No coin flip: sides are set; aff goes first; debaters will debate an equal number of aff and neg rounds
• "Mavericks" are allowed; in other words, students can debate with a partner or on their own
• Debaters will have 4 minutes of prep time instead of 2
FEES: There are no fees.
JUDGES: Please provide one judge per two teams. There will not be "fractional" judge obligations; it's a short event.
LOCATION: We plan to host a hybrid event, meaning that we will welcome in-person competitors and online competitors. See Logistics page for details on how this will run.
FOOD: The Friends of Valley Debate will provide a light breakfast and a debate tournament-typical lunch (read: pizza), as well as snacks and beverages.
The spring junior high program is for students who are new to debate. If you have junior high students who have competed significantly (say, more than once or twice) during the regular season, we prefer that those students participate as mentors or (if you think them qualified), judges. This is a norm we hope to set, not a rule; we will not be checking any student's status or disqualifying anyone. Use your best judgment as a coach.
The expectation is that teams will not read aff cases with plans more specific than the wording of the resolution. Debaters should defend the resolution as a general principle, as they would in a PF round.
In our junior high program, we are not covering policy terminology such as "advantage," "disadvantage," or "counterplan." That doesn't mean that you can't make arguments that fulfill those functions, but the debates will be easier for everyone to understand if we avoid those pieces of jargon.
Additionally, our program is not teaching what LD debaters would refer to as "Framework" or "value / criterion." Students are welcome to make any sense-making, topical argument they like, but avoiding those LD-specific terms will make the rounds easier for everyone to understand.
It should go without saying, but I'll say it here anyway: we won't be teaching critiques (broadly understood) or debate theory. We're also not teaching topicality (since everyone will be debating the resolution as a general principle, T should not be an issue.)
None of this is to say that these elements of debate aren't important or valuable; rather, since this is a short-term, introductory training event for junior high students who've never done debate before, our curriculum (and our preferred norms) focus on the basics of argumentation, research, and public speaking.
Also, these are presented as preferred norms. I expect all teams will make a good faith effort to follow these norms. Any concerns about failure to follow norms can be discussed in round or after round with the judge and/or coaches. The tab room will not be making any rules determinations, disqualifications, etc.
There will be RFDs and awards for outstanding performances, but everyone should think of these debates as introductory practice for students new to the activity.