Boone County High School Forensics




Because Dec is restricted to 9th and 10th graders, you will most likely be working with students who are new to forensics. Keep that in mind when practicing with them, along with these tips:


  • If the student needs help finding a speech, sit down with them and brainstorm ideas they are passionate about or interested in. From there, see if you can google speeches about those topics. While you shouldn’t sit through and watch every potential speech with them, it will encourage the student if you help them brainstorm ideas or bookmark links to speeches to view later.


  • Like all memorized speeches, your ability to effectively coach a student is minimized if their piece isn’t memorized. If a student attends a practice session with most of the piece not memorized, encourage them to spend that practice session memorizing the piece instead.


  • The first focus of Dec should be the verbal presentation. Is the student effectively portraying the original speaker’s messages? Are they using voice inflection, tone, etc. effectively? Are they clearly enunciating the words? While other areas like gestures or walk are important, a monotone or poor delivery of a speech will negatively affect performance the most.


  • Once the student has a good grasp on verbal performance, focus on movement. New students may need you to physically show them the speech walk. If the student is having trouble remembering when and where to walk, have them write down notes on a copy of their speech.


  • Encourage students to use a mixture of prepared and spontaneous hand gestures. Preparing too many hand gestures can make a performance seem rigid or robotic. Not preparing any can make them seem sloppy. Instead, point out significant moments in the speech, and plan effective gestures for those moments. In other moments in the speech, encourage students to let their gestures move more fluidly, though make a note if this seems to have a negative effect. As a whole, make sure students aren’t using the same gestures over and over again.


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