Classroom Participation

GENERAL TEAM RULES: a speech team member must know and adhere to the following rules for participation on the team:

1. Adequate preparation is necessary for tournament competition under the supervision of the coach. A student must meet with the coach at least once before the tournament for eligibility to compete.

2. SQUAD COOPERATION: the best teams become successful because they have developed ideas, arguments and strategies by cooperating with their team. No matter how good a student, the student can always learn from others. Pettiness is unnecessary. SO DURING PRACTICE SESSIONS STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO COOPERATE WITH COACHES, TEAMMATES, AND CRITICS.

3. Students are required to have their personal inventory and emergency forms on file with the Director of Forensics. The emergency forms accompany the coach to each tournament.

At every tournament we do vocal warm-ups as a team. As you progress you may want to do them on your own, or even initiate a few in the group. Here are the ones that we traditionally use each weekend. To lessen your fears here are a few that you could learn.
1. A-ah; E-ah; I-ah; O-ah; U-ah; sometimes-Y-ah; we have Helena!
2. Consonants around the circle: Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba; Ca-ca-ca-ca-ca, etc
3. Stretches of the face
4. Sail Boat. Sail Boat. Sail Boat. (repeat)
5. Red Bug. Black Bug. Blue Bug. (repeat)
6. From the top of the teeth to the tip of the tongue (repeat)
7. The world is round like an orange. (repeat)
8. Chester touches Ester’s chest (repeat)
9. I shot a hippopotamus with bullets made of platinum;
And if I’d used leaden ones, his hide would surely flatten them
10. The 16-count: 16, 8, 4, 2, 1

GUIDELINES FOR GIVING AND RECEIVING FEEDBACK - Developed by Dr. Karen Lovaas, San Francisco State University

Guidelines for Giving Compliments

  1. State it as soon as possible and relatively frequently.
  2. Name the specific behavior you appreciate/enjoy.
  3. State how positively it makes you feel.
  4. Don’t always pair compliments with criticisms or requests; give them by themselves whenever appropriate.
  5. Don’t ignore “average” behavior; notice when someone is reliable, doing her/his job, etc.

Guidelines for Giving Constructive Criticism

  1. State it soon thereafter using “I” Statements.
  2. Name the specific behavior you dislike.
  3. State what you would prefer.
  4. Separate the person from the behavior; treat the person with respect.
  5. If possible, state what you like about the person’s behavior and describe how you would like it to improve.
  6. When asking for changes, ask for concrete, manageable changes; be sure to compliment the person when changes are achieved.
  7. Criticisms have more credibility if you’ve complimented the person on previous occasions.

Guidelines for Receiving Compliments

  1. Say thank you
  2. Don’t apologize for not doing/being better, deny or downgrade the praise.
  3. Appreciate the recognition and take it to heart
  4. Return the favor Sometime

Guidelines for Receiving Criticism

  1. Listen carefully, paraphrasing to be sure you have accurately heard their intended message.
  2. Ask for clarification of points that are still unclear to you.
  3. Resist the impulse to simply deny the validity of the person’s perceptions.
  4. Recognize that they are giving you information based on their perspective.
  5. Assume the person’s good intentions; thank them for expressing their concerns or offering feedback.
  6. Express your own perceptions and intentions.
  7. Reflect on the new information and consider what is useful in what you have been told. Look for ways to act on the suggestions.


Listening is about communication too! As with public speaking skills, listening requires practice and the development of good habits.  Audience members should keep their focus on the speaker and tune out distractions. Class time is your opportunity to practice being a respectful, engaged, and thoughtful audience member. Cell phones should remain off and out of sight at all times. Do not interrupt performances. If you arrive late or leave to use the bathroom, wait to enter the classroom until applause indicates the conclusion of a performance (this is doubly important at tournaments).