"What is the judge's paradigm?"


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    This seemingly innocent question may cause some level of anxiety, especially among "Parent Judges" (you rock!) lacking prior familiarity with debate tournaments. Nobody wants to openly demonstrate their ignorance, particularly in front of "kids", so how might a new, and perhaps somewhat uncertain judge answer such a query? Well, relax, we're here to help. Let's begin with a definition:

    Paradigm: "a theory or a group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about. A judge's philosophy."

    In essence, the debate contestants are asking; "What do you, as a judge, look for in a quality debate?"

    Even if you have never judged, you should have some idean of how to judge a debate, regardless of style. These amazing kinds are ready to debate in front of new judges. You can tell them you are a new judge. Or not. They have to be ready to speak, explain, and convince every type of audience. This is part of the challenge of debate.

    Possible answers for the question; "What is the judge's paradigm?" include:

    1. Looking for good arguments that make sense.

    2. Explain everything to me, almost like I am a little kid.

    3. If you speak so quickly that I cannot take notes, that is a BAD thing. I don't like speed talking.

    4. Looking for QUALITY arguments, not quantity arguments.

    5. Convince me. I am a blank slate.

    6. Show me how your side wins. Spell it out. Explain it to me.

    7. Debate the resolution, not the sport. Do not debate whether or not we are debating. You have an issue, take up a grievance with your coach. You have evidence, use it. You have logic, use it.

    You can use any or all of these. After judging a few debate rounds, you'll know exactly what you look for and can answer with your own paradigm.

    Note: The foregoing was unabashedly pilfered from the "Smart Judges Cheat Sheet". Kudos to whomever whipped this up. 👍