Archive for the ‘in review’ Category

It was great seeing all of you (or many of you) since all the snow… and the tournament… and everything!

Just a couple of things:

  • keep working on the 4 point ref!  Remember the SSSS(s), and that will help!
  • I’m going to be working on some activities about how to use language specifically to give the most impact.  (Those of you who “voted” for organization and argumentation exercises– no worries! Your time is coming! 🙂 )
  • Value club: keep plugging away at the fallacies so you can recognize them, address them, and “remove” them from the round.  (Oh, and avoid them yourself! 😉 )  Next time, we’ll be getting you up and doing some exercise that will keep working on logical argumentation, especially how it applies to value and criterion clash.

Again, I’m glad to get back into routine!

See you all in Columbia!


1) Use close-ended questions (yes&no; “what you agree that…”; “is it true that…”)

2) Build and keep your ethos (credibility)

3) Create a line of questions (lead to your point… don’t jump to it)

4) Build your questions based on what your partner needs/will talk about in the next speech

5) Give direct responses (if you are the one giving the answers)

6) Agree on basic facts (don’t be obstinant when you don’t need to be)

7) Clarify

8) Don’t take your questions so far that they will never agree with you (quit while you’re ahead)

9) Show an impact through your questions

10) Ask questions about their evidence and warrants (if questionable)

1) They said ________________. (This lets the judge know you were listening… and also where they should pick you up on the flow.)

2) Rather, we say __________________. (Insert nice tag here.)

3) This is why we say it __________________. (Warrant/reason/evidence to back up your point.  No assertions allowed!)

4) It’s a big deal because ___________________. (Important reason/IMPACT.)

5) Summarize/conclude.


(Muchas gracias to Elaine for covering this in class!  Very helpful for both CX and rebuttals!)

This week in club, we talked about impacts– it’s importance, the big I and little i of impacts, and (to pun off the word, but to use it in a different context) how to impact your speech.

I’m going to post the big ideas that we talked about this week here, in order to be helpful.  Obviously, this isn’t everything that was discussed… but hopefully it will be serve as a point of reference.

First, why we need impact:  a round without impact = rebuttals that waste my time and make me want to pull my hair out.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t look good bald.  Oh, and they waste your time, too.  They make you want to wish that someone had called for an early ballot, if it was at all possible.

Secondly, there are 2 major ways we can impact: with a big I… and with a little i.

Impact with a big I.

  • kind of like the difference between Communism vs. communism.
  • all about connecting back to the value/mindset behind the policy.
Impact with a little i.  
(Also known as “impact calculus” for all you “I-went-to-Ethos-camp” people. 🙂 Btw, to read their article about impacts, click here.)  Here are some questions to ask to make the most impact with your arguments and evidence:
  • How many? (It’s all about quantity.  My arguments should win/their’s should lose because more people are affected.)
  • How long? (It’s all about the timeline.  My argument should win/their’s should lose because it is better for us in the long/short term–whichever is best.)
  • How permanent? (It’s all about being reversible. My argument should win/their’s should lose because it can or can’t be undone–whichever is best.)
  • How likely? (It’s all about probability.  My argument should win/their’s should lose because it win or is happening in the real world… the other team is living in a land of “what ifs” and hypotheticals.  [This was a major impact argument against which case with the Russian resolution? :)])
  • How supported? (It’s all about the link/brink strength. My argument should win/their’s should lose because my position is more solid and I can actually prove my ads and disads with more than one obscure source.)
  • How moral?  (It’s all about ethics.  My argument is better/their’s should lose because my position is moral… while the other team is ethically questionable.  Be careful of this one, though– it automatically implies that the other team is advocating something morally iffy.  Use only in the case that they are actually wanting something that is morally iffy.)
  • How severe? (It’s all about sacrifice.  My argument should win/their’s should lose because of the price of the sacrifice [life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, justice ensured, etc.].  This argument could overlap with impact with a big I.

Third, impact not just your point, but your speech.

  • Be repetitive in a good way.  Briefly repeat and/or build up your opponent’s argument before destroying it (bringing the boom).  Why?… It shows you understand and grasp their argument.  It builds your ethos.
  • Use your references.  Don’t be afraid to refer back to history or incidents that prove your point or disprove your opponents… even if you might not have a card.
  • Connect back to the real world.  Don’t make your arguments overly easy and simplistic.  Also, respond to simplistic positions with a sympathetic, but real world approach: “that would be great… but unfortunately, life/politics/crime/whatever isn’t that easy and simple.”
  • Remember your mindset.  Always connect your arguments back to your value. (The big I.)
  • Be direct with your judge—especially at the beginning and the end of your speech.  Start off with eye contact.  End with eye contact.  Conclude with the most powerful thought about your mindset, etc. instead of “thank you” and declaring your readiness for cross examination.
In the club meeting on 8.31, we discussed how we need to see the value behind policy debate.  This blog entry will outline what we covered in club for records… and if you happen to need to review.  🙂
First, we started off with a “scenario” activity, asking what you would do in the following situations…
If, in conflict, would you:
  • complete something important vs. meet someone on time
  • hit the snooze vs. take a shower
  • check facebook vs. go to bed.
What these scenarios actually test is:
  • perseverance vs. punctuality
  • sleep vs. hygiene
  • social life vs. sleep
What do we see?… that what’s important to us makes our decision for us.  And just like what you do (action) in your life is what you think (value) is most important… the same is true in debate.
What we do (policy) is based on what we hold as important (value).
Then, we saw that we NEED value in policy debate because…
1. Value always precedes policy.
  • We made you the board of education, to decide if safety of students was more important than the privacy of them (value clash).  If so, we see locker searches and drug dogs in the halls (policy change).
  • We made you congress, to decide if the right to life was more important than the right to do anything with life (value clash).  If so, we see the abolishment (or legalization) of abortion, depending on which value wins.
S0, we see…
2. When we choose a value, we influence future policy.  Value debate gets to the root of the issue– it lays the foundation that policy is built upon.
3.  These underlying, implied values behind policy resolutions become your mindset.
  • Paint a bigger picture for your judge.
  • Tell them that they shouldn’t just vote for you because your plan works– and it should.  They should vote for you because you represent their values.
4.  BOTH SIDES should have a mindset.
  • Aff: if something needs to be reformed… there’s a reason why.  Is it bad in the system?  Why is it bad?
  • Neg: this policy should not be reformed at all, or it shouldn’t be reformed in the way aff is saying because… <<insert minset>> (i.e. they violate justice, they create inequality, they do more harm than good, etc.).  Just negating isn’t good enough.  Don’t tell me why we shouldn’t vote for them.  Tell me why we should  vote for you!
We finished with an activity that helped us find a mindset, no matter the side, by breaking into teams and creating a clash by arguing the value behind the policy and the resolution.