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1. International Debate Education Association
2. What do you think your most important duty is when adjudicating a debate?
3. Evaluating Facts and Checking Opinions
4. Thinking About Arguments Dealing with our personal biases can sometimes be difficult.
Experience shapes our sense of reality.
The power of facts is shaped by the information we have been presented with before.
To judge fairly, an adjudicator needs to do their best to set aside their biases when they enter the debate. They need to attempt to give arguments a “fair hearing.”
5. Dealing with Questionable Information Listening to an argument objectively does not mean the judge must change their personal views.
The ballot / oral critique is the adjudicator’s tool for communicating reservations about arguments.
Inform the student in your comments that you believe their information to be incorrect.
Offer constructive suggestions for how they could make their argument better, or their information more accurate.
But, confine the basis of your decision to the question: “Who did the better debating?”
6. Good Rules to Live By How an opposing team responds to poor arguments may be as important to the debate as the poor arguments themselves.
Listening critically to an argument—whether you agree with it or not—does not constitute acceptance of that argument as true.
Your most important role as an adjudicator is to help students learn to make better arguments by learning what succeeds and fails in a debate.
7. Negative Adjudication Habits
8. Negative Habits During the Debate Avoid behaviors that suggest to the debaters that you are disinterested.
Avoid showing overt preference for one side in the debate, or a particular argument, while the debate is in progress.
Avoid forming opinions about the debate, and the arguments therein, until the debate is concluded.
9. Negative Habits After the Debate Avoid “heavy-handed” language that belittles debaters for their mistakes.
Avoid letting your personal biases overwhelm the decision in the debate.
10. Good Adjudication Habits
11. Good Habits During the Debate Listen as attentively as possible to the arguments.
Take as many notes as you can.
Keep track of key arguments in the debate.
Make note of constructive criticism you can provide after the debate.
Provide positive non-verbal reinforcement during the debate (smile, make eye contact when possible).
12. Good Habits After The Debate Offer both positive feedback and constructive criticism. Tell debaters what they did well, but also tell them what they can do to improve.
Convey your critique in a positive tone. Help the debaters feel good about what they have learned, even if they lost the debate.
Help the debaters to understand what they can do to be better at what they do.
Remember that even the winning debaters have things they can do to improve!
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