Tahoma High School Golden Bear Classic
2021 — NSDA Campus, WA/US
Congressional Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Coach, Gig Harbor HS, Gig Harbor WA
Coached LD: 21 years
Coached CX: 17: years
Competed in LD: 4 years
Competed in NPDA: 2 years
Rounds judged 2016-17, LD: 10, CX: 1, PF 1
LD Paradigm: I have been competing in, judging and coaching Lincoln Douglas debate for over twenty years. I have seen a lot of changes, some good, some not so good. This is what you should know.
I will evaluate the round based on the framework provided by the debaters. The affirmative needs to establish a framework (usually a value and criterion) and then show why, based on the framework, the resolution is true. The negative should either show why the resolution is not true under that framework or provide a competing framework which negates. My stock paradigm is what most people now call truth testing: the aff's burden is to prove the resolution true and the negatives is to prove it false. I will default to this absent another paradigm being established in the round. If both debaters agree that I should evaluate as a policymaker, I am able to do that and will. If you both put me in some other mode, that is reasonable as well. If there is an argument, however, between truth testing and another way of looking at the round the higher burden of proof will be on the debater attempting the shift away from truth testing.
As far as specific arguments go.
1. I find topicality arguments generally do not apply in Lincoln Douglas debate. If the affirmative is not dealing with the resolution, then they are not meeting their burden to prove the resolution true. This is the issue, not artificial education or abuse standards. I have voted on T in the past, but I think there are more logical ways to approach these arguments if the aff is affirming the entire resolution. In a round where the affirmative runs a plan, T becomes more relevant.
2. I find the vast majority of theory arguments to be very poorly run bastardizations of policy theory that do not really apply to LD. I especially hate AFC, and must/must not run plans, or arguments of this nature.
3. I have a strong, strong, bias against debaters using theory shells as their main offensive weapon in rounds when the other debater is running stock, predictable cases. I am open to theory arguments against abusive positions, but I want you to debate the resolution, not how we should debate.
4. You need to keep sight of the big picture. Impact individual arguments back to framework.
Finally, I am a flow judge. I will vote on the arguments. That said, I prefer to see debaters keep speeds reasonable, especially in the constructives. You don’t have to be conversational, but I want to be able to make out individual words and get what you are saying. It is especially important to slow down a little bit when reading lists of framework or theory arguments that are not followed by cards. I will tell you if you are unclear. Please adjust your speed accordingly. I will not keep repeating myself and will eventually just stop flowing.
I have not judged very much CX lately, but I still do coach it and judge it occasionally. I used to consider myself a policy maker, but I am probably open enough to critical arguments that this is not completely accurate anymore. At the same time, I am not Tab. I don't think any judge truly is. I do enter the room with some knowledge of the world and I have a bias toward arguments that are true and backed by logic.
1. I will evaluate the round by comparing impacts unless you convince me to do otherwise.
2. I am very open to K's that provide real alternatives and but much less likely to vote on a K that provides no real alt.
3. If you make post-modern K arguments at warp speed and don't explain them to me, do not expect me to do the work for you.
4. I tend to vote on abuse stories on T more than competing interpretations.
5. I really hate theory debates. Please try to avoid them unless the other team leaves you no choice.
6. The way to win my ballot is to employ a logical, coherent strategy and provide solid comparison of your position to your opponents.
I am able to flow fairly quickly, but I don't judge enough to keep up with the fastest teams. If I tell you to be clear or slow down please listen.
Speeches should be well-formatted and easy to listen to, with an intro and conclusion to wrap them up. Points should be supported with evidence and clearly related to your greater argument.
Interact with others in speeches and questions, directly refuting others by name and explaining why their arguments are less impactful than your own. Advance debate and don't rehash.
I debated Policy my sophomore year and currently am varsity member in the land of Student Congress. I am everything except a Tabula Rosa judge.
I look for a well developed speech/argument with a claim, data, warrant that is clearly connected and has been well researched.
Especially for Student Congress, I expect a well polished and respectful presentation that includes engaging with the room/audience and presenting yourself well as a speaker (i.e. posture, eye contact, less fidgeting, etc).
Specifically for Policy, if you are affirmative keep stock issues present. You have the burden of proof and a dropped argument is a true argument.
My name is Robin Monteith and i am the coach for The Overlake School in Remond, Wa. I am a parent coach and was introduced to speech and debate through being a parent judge. This is my second year judging at speech and debate competitions. Both years, I judged PF, LD, Congress, and many speech categories. I have no policy experience. I became a coach this year, and coach students in many speech categories, PF, LD, and Congress. My educational background is in psychology and social work.
I am looking for students to convince me that the side they are arguing on is right. I like statistics, but am also looking for the big picture. It will help if you give a clear and highly organized case. Make sure that you don't talk so fast that you lose your enunciation. Also, remember that I am trying to write and process what you are saying so if you are talking really fast some of your arguments may be missed. While the point of debate is to take apart your opponents case, I do not like it when teams get too aggressive or cross the line into being rude. I value both argument and style in that I think your style can help get your argument across or not get it across well. Don't do theory or Kritiks. I am not a flow judge, but do take extensive notes. You need to extend arguments in your summary and final focus and I will disregard any new arguments presented in final focus as this is unfair to your opponents. In summary I like for you to summarize the debate for me. Both your side and your opponents. In final focus I want to hear voters. Why do you think you won the debate. What evidence did you present that outweighs your opponents evidence, etc.
Preferred email: email@example.com
Hi, my name is Christine Pyle
I am a coach and participated in debate in school many years ago.
Fast talking(spreading) is fine, however clarity is key.
Signposting is preferred - organization helps not only me but you
If you are utilizing impacts to enhance your case, follow through with those impacts in your case to the end of the debate.
I'm looking for good case structure, compelling arguments, good use of crossfire, and that arguments with weight are flowing through to the end.
Note: This is a paradigm for my local circuit. For nationals, i still judge similarly.
Background: I competed for a couple years with no particular accolades. I judge Congress a lot. If you see me as a judge in a debate event other than Congress, consider me a smart lay judge with little to no understanding of conventions of your event.
Frankly, Congress is not as complicated as other debate events. You only get three minutes, and there aren't a ton of different ways to argue compared to other debate events. That said, this is how I will judge you in Congress:
-Content matters a lot to me. Lots of judges say they don't like rehash, but I really mean it. If you are the 5th speaker you should probably reference what other speakers are saying. If you are the 15th speaker, please don't pretend your points are new. Flow the round, weigh the values of both sides and argue why the values of your side are the most important of the round. If you have evidence that suggests that your side should win a value that the other side has tried to claim, explain why your side should get that claim over the other, rather than just stating that you do and expecting that to be undisputed. If your speech would work as an authorship and you are not the author, you're not debating. You're giving a 3-minute oratory. If you don't understand how to do that, go watch any PF round and you'll probably see a higher amount of debating than I see in Congress.
-How good of a speaker you are will matter. I probably value your speaking ability less than most Congress judges in Washington, but it still will play a factor in how high you score and rank. Even though we are (supposedly) debating legislation, you're doing it in the form of a persuasive speech, and so all speech conventions apply here.
-Ask good questions. It's by far the easiest way to recognize who is paying attention and understands what's going on in the room. Any question that will be really obviously answered with either a yes or no answer is probably not contributing much to the debate. Ask lots of why questions, especially when speakers should be answering them in their speeches and failed to do so.
-Don't just read off a piece of paper. At least try to make eye contact. I understand why novices do this. I don't understand why open competitors do. It doesn't really feel like you're paying attention if your "contribution" to the round is reading a prepared statement. If speaking from bullet points makes you stutter or lose your train of thought a lot, practice your speeches until it doesn't. I would rather you be a little less polished but be more adaptive and open to your chamber, as long as I can still understand what you're arguing.
-Don't try to be too smart. I see lots of debaters try to be smarter than everyone with their "unique" points that have minimal impacts and/or don't make any sense at all. There's plenty of room for imagination in Congress, especially considering how interesting flaws in legislation can be, but run your point by someone smarter than you before you give it in round.
-Don't be a jerk. I'm a pretty informal judge because that's who I am as a person. I think there's value in making your participation in this event reflect who you are and what you believe. But don't be so loose that you insult people, make racist/sexist/ableist/homophobic/transphobic/any kind of hateful or derogatory comments. I do believe there is room for debate to be fun and also to not be insulting. Don't attack people, attack arguments.
Coach since 1996 - started team at Clover Park High School (3 years) (Coach at Puyallup High School since 2000)
Competed in high school and college - Policy, LD, platforms, and interp.
Charter Board member of The Women's Debate Institute
General - (scale of 1-10) 1=low, 10 high
Speed - 6ish -7 ish, if you are ridiculously clear
Topicality - 3 - I have little regard for T, if you are going for it, it better be your only card on the table and the violation should be crystal clear and beyond egregious.
Kritical Arguments - depends - I'm very interested in language kritiques, but generally speaking I have little tolerance for po-mo philosophy - I think the vast majority of these authors are read by debaters only in the context of debate, without knowledge or consideration for their overall work. This makes for lopsided and, frankly, ridiculous debates with debaters arguing so far outside of the rational context or the philosopher, as to make it clear as mud and a laughable interpretation of the original work. It's not that I am a super expert in philosophy, but rather a lit teacher and feel like there's something that goes against my teaching practice to buy into a shallow or faulty interpretation (all of those dreary hours of teacher torture working on close reading practices - sigh). Outside of that, I'm interested on a 7ish level.
Framework - 9 - I'm all in favor of depth v. breadth and to evaluate the framework of a round or the arguments, I believe, can create a really interesting level of comparison. What drives me crazy is, what appears to be, the assumption that framework is a done-deal. That there is only one way to view framework, is faulty and counter-intuitive. It is the job of both teams to advocate, not just their framework, but the logic behind their framework.
Theory - 8ish. While I'm generally fascinated, I can, very quickly be frustrated. I frequently feel that theory arguments are just "words on the page to debaters" - something that was bought on-line, a coach created for you, or one of the top teams at your school put together at camp. It quickly falls into the same category as po-mo K's for me.
Just a me thing - not sure what else to label this, but I think that I should mention this. I struggle a lot with the multiple world's advocacy. I think that the negative team has the obligation to put together a cohesive strategy. I've had this explained to me, multiple times, it's not that I don't get it - I just disagree with it. So, if at some point this becomes part of your advocacy, know that you have a little extra work to do with me. It's easiest for my teams to explain my general philosophy, by simply saying that I am a teacher and I am involved with this activity bc of its educational value, not simply as a game. So go ahead and lump perf con in with the whole multiple worlds advocacy
Ok, so my general paradigm is 1.) play nice. I hate when: debater are rude to their own partner, me, the other team. Yes, it is a competition - but there's nothing less compelling than someone whose bravado has pushed passed their ability (or pushed over their partner). Swagger is one thing, obnoxiousness is another. Be aware of your language (sexist, racist, or homophobic language will not be tolerated. In my mind, this is not just as issue that will affect speaker points but potentially the round.) 2.) Debate is a flexible game; the rules are ever changing. The way that I debated is dramatically, different then the way that is debated today, versus the way that people will debate 20 years from now. I believe this requires me to be flexible in my paradigm/philosophy. However, I, also, believe that it is your game. I hate it when teams tell me over and over again what they believe that they are winning, but without any reference to their opponent’s positions or analysis as to why. Debate is more of a Venn diagram in my mind, than a "T-chart".
I don't actually believe that anyone is "tabula rasa". I believe that when a judge says that, they are indicating that they will try to listen to any argument and judge it solely on the merits of the round. However, I believe that we all come to rounds with pre-conceived notions in our heads - thus we are never "tabula rasa". I will try my best to be a blank slate, but I believe that the above philosophy should shed light on my pre-conceived notions. It is your job as debaters, and not mine, to weigh out the round and leave me with a comparison and a framework for evaluation.
I'm primarily a flow judge. I value argumentation and weighing those arguments during crystalization in rebuttals. While I generally do not have an issue with speed, don't go there if you can't do it with clarity. It may be the best argument you've given in your life, but if I don't get it on my flow, it doesn't matter. I'm generally regarded as pretty expressive so look up every once in a while. Finally, I want you to write the ballot for me in the final rebuttals; give clear voting issues and tell me why you win each point.