National Debate Coaches Association National Championships
2023 — Rolling Hills Estates, US
World Schools Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
BA in Philosophy, Peace Studies, & Communication Studies from Regis University
MA Communication Studies -K-State University
-Debate Coach @ Colorado Academy ('23 - present)
-College Debate Coach @ K-State for BP debate ('21-'23)
-Assistant Coach for WSD @ The Greenhill School ('20-'23)
-Curriculum Coordinator & Top Lab Leader at Global Debate Symposium for WSD ('19-present)
-Instructor at Baylor Debate Institute for LD ('22)
-Instructor at Stanford National Forensics Institute (PF & Parli) ('19-'21)
First and foremost I believe debate is about engagement and education. I highly value the role of charity in argumentation and the function of intellectual humility in debate.
NOTEs FOR ONLINE DEBATING:
1) You'll likely need to go slower
2) Be gracious to everyone, don't freak out if someone's Wi-Fi drops
3) I've reverted to flowing on paper--so signpost signpost signpost *See my sections on Cross-X & Speed*
You’ll see two distinct paradigms for WSD & LD/Policy in that order:
I love World Schools Debate! This has by far become my favorite format of debate!
Do not run from the heart of the motion--instead, engage in the most salient and fruitful clashes. Weigh very clearly and don't forget to extend the principled/framework conversation throughout the entire debate (not just in the 1!). Ensure that you have a logical structure for the progression and development of the bench, work on developing and staying true to your team line. Work to weigh the round at the end--divide the round into dissectible and engaging sections that can be understood through your given principle or framework system. You are speaking to the judge as an image of a global, informed citizen--you cannot assume that I know all of the inner workings of the topic literature, even if I do; work to sell a clear story: make the implicit, explicit. World Schools Debate takes seriously each of the following: Strategy, Style, and Content. Many neglect strategy and style--too few develop enough depth for their content. Ensure that you take each judging area seriously.
Some thoughts on WSD
1. Prop Teams really need to prioritize establishing a clear comparative and beginning the weighing conversation in the Prop 3 to overcome the time-skew in the Opp Block. This involves spelling out clearly in the prop three not only what the major clashes in the round are but also what sort of voters I should prefer and why.
2. Weighing is a big deal and needs to happen on two levels. The first level has to do with the specific content of the round and the impacts (i.e., who is factually correct about the material debated and the characterizations that are most likely). The second level has to do with the mechanics leveraged in the substantives and defensive part of the round (i.e., independent of content—who did the better debating by relying on clear incentives, layered characterizations, and mechanisms). Most debates neglect this second level of weighing; these levels work together and complement each other.
3. Opposition teams should use the block strategically. This means that the material covered in the opp reply should not be a redundant repetition of the opp 3. One of these two speeches should be more demonstrative (the 3) and the other less defensive (the 4) — we can view them as cohesive but distinct because they prioritize different issues and methods. There is a ton of room to play around here, but bottom line is that I should not hear two back to back identical speeches.
4. Big fan of principled arguments, but lately I have found that teams are not doing a fantastic job weighing these arguments against practical arguments. The framework of the case and the argument should preemptively explain to me what I should prefer this *type* of argument over or against a practical argument (an independent reason to prefer you). This usually involves rhetorically and strategically outlining the importance of this principle because of its moral/value primacy (i.e., what is the principled impact to disregarding this argument). This said, winning your principle should not depend on you winning a prior practical argument.
5. Regrets motions are some of my favorite motions, but I find that teams really struggle with these. You are debating here with the power and retrospect and hindsight. To this end, watch out for arguments that say something is bad because it “will cause X;” rather, arguments should say this thing is bad because it “already caused X.” This does not mean that we cannot access conversations about the future in regrets motions—but we need to focus the majority of our framing on actually analyzing why an *already present/happened* event or phenomena is worthy of regret.
LD & Policy Paradigm: Long story short "you do you." Details are provided. I'll listen to just about anything done well. Though I dislike tricks & am not a great judge to pref for theory debates. Some of these sections are more applicable to either LD or Policy but that should be intuitive.
General: I am very much a "flow" judge. Signposting is crucial. I do not extend arguments or draw links on my own. If you do not tell me and paint the story for me I will really despise doing the work for you.
Speaks: I am not afraid to give low point wins. The quality of the argument will always outway the persuasion that you use. It is ridiculous to vote for a team because they sound better. I will penalize racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist or ableist speech with low speaks. I don't disclose speaks. This seems arbitrary. I'm not confident why the practice of disclosing speaks has become a common request--but I think this is largely silly.
Speed: I am fine with speed; though I am not fine with bad clarity. More the half of the spreading debaters I listen to seriously neglect diction drills and clarity. Rapidly slurring cards together and ignoring clear sign-posting does not allow as much time as you think for the pen to put ink on the flow. I cannot tell you how many debates I have judged in the last two years where the entirety of CX time is spent by the opponent's trying to figure out what the other debater just said. I will only yell "clear" twice if you are going too fast for me--clarity has only become more important in the world of online debating. Recently, if I reach the point where I have to either say clear (or type it in the zoom chat) debaters get visibly frustrated. You have to choose between a judge who is capable of flowing your material or your desire to go so fast even when incomprehensible. In non-Zoom debates, typically nothing is too fast so long as your diction is good. If you see me stop flowing or if you notice my facial demeanor change this is a good indicator that your speed is too fast with not enough clarity. *Note my Section on Online Debating*
Value debate: I love philosophical clash! View my comments under Framework. Morality is not a value. It's just not. It is descriptive; debate requires normative frameworks.
Framework: Framework is very important to a good debate. Value clash should start here. This comes with two caveats. 1) Know what your authors are actually saying. I am a Philosophy major. I might penalize you for running content that you misconstrue. 2) Be able to explain, with your own analytics, any dense framework that you run. I will default to comparative worlds unless told otherwise. Some level of intervention is required on the part of the judge unless the framework debate is carried all the way to the 2AR--don't make me intervene. Make sure you return to the framework debate! (Especially important for me in LD)
Theory: You do you. Not a fan of frivolous theory, tbh; but you're in charge (more or less). Make the interp clear and the violation clear. I want to be clear here though: I do not enjoy theory debates, I think the proliferating practice of theory debates and competing underviews is net-bad for the activity. Additionally, if theory is a consistent leg of your strategy as a debater, that is fine, just do not pref me. I will not be a good judge for your preferred strategy. I'll also concede here that I am really poor at analyzing tricks debates and I am not a fan of the practice of lists of theory spikes--debate should be, at its core, about engagement not tricks for evasion. This is not to say that I have no understanding of how to adjudicate competing interps or theory debates, but it is not my comfort zone and I dislike the practice.
Cross-X: I flow cross-ex. I do consider it a substantive portion of the debate and cross-ex is binding. I believe that too many debaters waste their cross-ex time by desperately trying to get some understanding of their opponent's case because of the increasing absurdity of some case strategies and/or the lack of clarity that accompanies some speed. There are fundamentally three types of overarching cross-x questions: 1) Clarification, 2) Rebuttal, 3) Set-up/Concession; they rank in weakness/effectiveness from 1-3, with 1 being a non-strategic use of time.
Plans/CPs IN LD: This is fine. I will not usually listen to a theory debate on plans bad or CP bad for LD. PICs are fine. Once again, If you do it right you are fine. Again: If your strategy is to run a theory argument against a CP, a Plan, a PIC, or the like I may not necessarily be super happy about this *See my section on theory*. Debate is about engagement, not evasion--but I will listen to anything to the best of my ability.
K's: Good K debates are wonderful! Bad ones are the worst debates to watch. I love to see something Unique but relevant if you default to K. Please very clearly tell me what the Alt looks like; "vote neg" is not an alt!!! You gotta give me some function beyond “give me the ballot.” I am comfortable with most critical theory and post-modern scholarship. In particular, I have well-established academic training in phenomenology-informed critical theory, metaphysical frameworks that take strong ontological positions, and Deleuzian scholarship writ large. I can draw the links for you; Please do not make me. If you choose to run a critical theory, you should understand it well. I have experience working with critical theory and have worked alongside Dr. George Yancy firsthand on Critical Race Theory--I cannot stress this enough: good K debaters do their authors and their authors' scholarship justice by understanding the primary texts and scholarship inside and outside of the round. If your only exposure to a K author is a list of cards, you are philosophically unequipped to meaningfully engage in that author's scholarship, and unprepared for a good K debate.
This in no way means that you have to be a PhD student on Baudrillard to run a Baudrillard K, it just means you have to actually do your homework and trust your reasonable knowledge of the case-dependent scholarship because you didn't take shortcuts in understanding the K-Author, and your main textual engagement with the K-Author goes well beyond a series of cards, especially cards someone else cut.
Evidence: Be ethical with your evidence. This is serious stuff.
Weighing and Impacts: Spell out the voters for me. It's that simple. If you give me an impact calc, that is super beneficial for you.****When I give my RFD in prelims, you are more than welcome to ask questions. However, if you argue with me or begin to debate with me, I will give you a 20 on speaks--no joke Do not waste my time.
* I will not tolerate any rhetoric that is racist, sexist, or homophobic. Taking morally repugnant positions is not in your favor.
School affiliation/s - please indicate all (required):
The Hockaday School
Years Judging/Coaching (required)
Years of Experience Judging any Speech/Debate Event (required)
Rounds Judged in World School Debate this year (required)
Check all that apply
__X___I judge WS regularly on the local level
__X___I judge WS at national level tournaments
_____I occasionally judge WS Debate
_____I have not judged WS Debate this year but have before
_____I have never judged WS Debate
Rounds judged in other events this year (required)
Check all that apply
____ I have not judged this year
____ I have not judged before
Have you chaired a WS round before? (required)
What does chairing a round involve? (required)
Chairing means making sure everyone is present and ready, calling on individual speakers and announcing the decision. I usually announce the decision then ask the other judges to provide feedback before providing my own.
How would you describe WS Debate to someone else? (required)
WSD is what debate would be if people stopped the tactics that exclude others from the debate and arguments. The delivery and required clash of WSD means that there is no hiding from bad arguments or from good arguments.
What process, if any, do you utilize to take notes in debate? (required)
I flow on excel using techniques like other formats. I attempt to get as much of the details as I can.
When evaluating the round, assuming both principle and practical arguments are advanced through the 3rd and Reply speeches, do you prefer one over the other? Explain. (required)
It depends on the motion. On a motion that tends towards a problem-solution approach I will tend to prefer the practical, but on a motion that is rooted in a would or believes approach I tend towards the practical.
The WS Debate format requires the judge to consider both Content and Style as 40% each of the speaker’s overall score, while Strategy is 20%. How do you evaluate a speaker’s strategy? (required)
For me, strategy is how the speaker addresses the large clashes in the debate and compares those clashes for one another. For example, if the debate is about the efficacy of green patents I am looking for the speaker to address something that exists in the assumption that efficacy is good or bad.
WS Debate is supposed to be delivered at a conversational pace. What category would you deduct points in if the speaker was going too fast? (required)
I do that in the style section.
WS Debate does not require evidence/cards to be read in the round. How do you evaluate competing claims if there is no evidence to read? (required)
I tend to grant both claims as being true and then look to see if the claims are mutually exclusive. If they aren’t then I look at whether the teams advanced a burden/principle that supports their side. Included in this is an evaluation of whether a side has compared their burden/principle to the other team’s.
How do you resolve model quibbles? (required)
I don’t like to resolve these issue because they often revolve around questions of fact, which I can’t resolve in a debate where there are no objectively verified facts. I tend to go through the same process as I do when it comes to evaluating competing claims.
How do you evaluate models vs. countermodels? (required)
First, I think both sides have the option to have a model or countermodel, but it is not required in the debate. Second, I think about the practical and the world each side creates. If a team is comparing their world to the world of the other team then I tend to follow that logic. Hopefully, both teams are doing this and then they are using their burden/principle to explain why their world is more important for me to vote for. One item that I tend to not enjoy is when teams treat models and countermodels as plans and counterplans and attack each other’s position without a comparison. Keep in mind that reasons the other team’s position fails are not reasons your position succeeds!
If I am judging you in an event other than WSD.
I am sorry, it has been several years since I have judged anything else but WSD. I do not subscribe to the technique over truth paradigm, nor do I want to listen to a mistakes driven debate. I want to see clash, not strategies geared towards avoiding/trapping the other side. Please do not spread, I will not flow that fast and I will not go back and reconstruct your speech using a speech document. Acts of exclusion will result in low points and possible loss of the ballot. I know this is a list of do not's rather than do's so I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.