WDM Valley Spring Junior High Debate

2022 — NSDA Campus, IA/US

Educational Norms

The focus of the event is education. The majority of debaters are brand-new to debate. In all of our interactions with the students, we will keep this in mind. The goal is to make sure students have a positive first experience with debate competition, so that they will be excited to continue in the activity. 

Varsity students are welcome to serve as judges. Please make certain that you communicate with student judges about the necessity of treating new junior high debaters gently and with respect. Young debaters serving as judges may lack the context or understanding to be aware of how their comments and/or behavior impact junior high debaters. They may feel it's appropriate to emulate the behaviors of adult judges they've seen in varsity or "national circuit" rounds, where behavior is sometimes informal and critiques are sometimes pointed or even harsh. Help student-judges to understand the different needs of brand-new junior high debaters. 

Here are some basic pointers to share with young judges:

1) Be friendly, polite, and professional with all debaters. Avoid sarcasm.

2) Pay attention throughout the debate, even in CX. Do not take out your phone at any time while the debaters are performing. Even if you feel that your decision doesn't require close attention (ie, if the winner is clear before the last speech), make it clear that you are paying close attention to every speaker, every speech.

3) When presenting oral comments, begin by noting things that the debaters did well. Encouragement at this point is more important than criticism.

4) Explain your decision briefly. Lengthy RFDs are stressful for brand new students. 

5) Even if a round is not close, present your RFD so as to be encouraging to both sides. 

6) To sum up: Be kind!