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Re: Fair/educational coaching...
While I think most reasonable people woulld agree with Mr Roskowski's
comments about a coaches role as part of a team, I fail to see how they
respond to Dr Frank's concern over coaches manipulating teams and the
arguments they produce and deliver much like a puppeteer pulling the
strings of a marienett. It seems obvious that a coach coaches. This
necesarily includes strategy meetings, evidence discussions and
assignments, advice and idea sharing concerning possible positions to run
against specific teams or in front of specific judges, etc. . . it is
our job as educators to educate. I don't see any difference in the
activities Mr. Roskowski advocates in terms of coaching and those Dr.
Frank supports as a forensic educator ( I feel qualified to comment here
being a former duck).
However, there is a distinction between advising, educating, discussing,
suggesting, and controling. The situation described by Dr. Frank (Todd
Grahm conducting a cross examination of the UMKC team prior to the round
and then telling the Northwestern team what they would be running in
response) is quite different then the benevolent examples of coaches
participation cited in Roskowski's letter. Anyone who has ever
judged or debated a Northwestern team is aware of the extreme
emotional and competitive involvement Todd Grahm has in his
team. The incident Dr. Frank cites in his letter is not
unique. During the other Northwestern Octo-Final round, Grahm
actually sat through the round talking to and questioning
two of the judges re: there impression of how the round was
going. This seems to go over the line of team unity referred
to by Mr. Roskowski. Additionally, the examples of producing evidence,
cases, briefs, etc . . . mentioned in Dr. Frank's letter are not
addressed by Roskowski's letter. Is this sort of "involvment in your
team" also justified?
Debate is not football. Football is a physical activity where people are
told where to run and throw. Debate is a mental and oral activity. If
you apply the same analogy, you are telling people what to think and
say. It some how seems different to me. Football players and debaters
are different kinds of people, or at least people play football and
participate in debate for different reasons.
I guess I wonder about programs where professional researchers, briefers,
and strategizers are hired to construct rounds, and then any warm body
who can follow instructions and spew can be plugged into the situation,
wound up and let go. It dosen't seem very educational. It doesn't seem
very creative. It doesn't seem very fun. It doesn't seem to foster
critical thinking. It doesn't seem to do much besides stroke the ego of
the coach who is living vicariously through his or her students.
I agree that debaters should have freedom to construct arguments and
debate in ways which are appealing, fun, and educational for them. They
should not be confined to one style by rigid rules created and enforced
by a handful of people in a ceda committee meeting, any more then they
sould be limited by the preferences of their coaches. Debater's should be
encouraged to be creative, to run the arguments they have fun running and
research the areas they feel are important to research on a given topic
whether that is wipeout or anarchy should be up to the debaters themselves
with imput, guidence, and support from their coaches and team members.
Final Note: I hope this letter is received in the spirit it is written.
I am simply confused as to what Mr. Roskowski's position is, and would
like clarification. Also, I do not mean this to be an attack on
Todd Grahm or the Northwestern team per se. I only include these factual
accounts as examples for discussion.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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