ERIC Number: ED210759
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Debate as Game, Educational Tool, and Argument: An Evaluation of Theory and Rules.
Dowling, Ralph E.
Academic debate may be regarded as an educational game since it includes the adversary quest for favorable decisions from a neutral judge within an artificial context defined by myriad rules and traditions. In academic debate, the requisite fairness is provided by such game rules as time limitations, speaker order, uniform resolutions, critic neutrality, and rules or traditions regarding evidence integrity. While the rules of most educational games provide no variation or uncertainty in determining the outcome, debate is a unique game because winning is determined by rules that are brought into practical application by the critic. These rules have produced critics whose stances no longer require or reward the demonstration of superior debate skills, whose decision options are unrealistic, and who are theoretically bound to ignore the real means and ends of oral advocacy. These results in turn inhibit the educational fairness functions they were designed to fulfill. Changes in debate judging might include (1) a modified critical stance that would operate on the assumption of critic neutrality concerning the area of dispute and opposing advocates while requiring an active critical evaluation of the arguments presented, (2) the use of presumption that assures quality in each argumentative component prior to its acceptance as a relevant factor in the final decisions that are reached, and (3) modified debate ballots to allow the critic the option of remaining undecided on the issues in controversy when that is how the critic perceives the arguments. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Rules and Regulations
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (67th, Anaheim, CA, November 12-15, 1981).