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Model UN Committees vs Debating Leagues

Daltonian
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5/25/2015 7:23:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Since joining DDO, I've tried to divulge more into the world of extracurricular debating. My school is on the smaller side though, and no extracurricular debate programs are really conveniently available, which sucks. I've always wanted to try and do the type of spoken debates that notable members of this site seem to excel at (Liz, bsh, Zaradi, Raisor, etc) but I've never really had the guts to get out and go to the relatively extensive means necessary to try it.

However, I sort of remedied this problem by pursuing a totally different debating style, in the form of Model UN conferences and committees - because that IS available at my school.

The rudimentary concept of participating in a Model UN committee and being on a MUN team is very similar to that of being on a competitive debate team; schools and institutions organize teams of delegates who represent 'nations' or 'organizations' and send them to participate at conferences organized by different colleges. Within each conference, there are a plethora of committees; wherein different subjects will be debated and discussed by the respective delegations.

People speak in 60-120 second intervals at a time, and in rapid succession. You're forced to articulate your points *VERY* briefly. There is usually very little back and forth, because there are 60-70 people trying to get points in. There's a lot of refuting of points, but not consistently between two people - you're not exposed to the full intellectual wrath and criticism of any one delegate.

I really enjoy this form of debating, and from my experience, this form challenges participants to adapt, and serves a very defined purpose for the student [or other level participant].

(1) delegates always have to represent and respect the opinions and positions of their respective countries. They'll often be forced to play Devil's Advocate, and will be exposed to a plethora of new perspectives on the issue.

(2) it provides a very good environment for developing social skills, and presents a [more] realistic environment. Rather than be assessed by an outside party, your success is often determined by your capacity to convince your peers within the committee of the veracity of your position, because each proposed resolution is voted on by each and every participant during the voting procedure - the assessment for things like awards and 'best delegate' is an entirely different phenomena.

Of course, being a bureaucratic process, there are other elements to a committee, like unmoderated caucuses, wherein you're free to work on draft papers and try and convince other delegates on your own time (but usually they're limited to 10 minute intervals, and it takes away from the discussion time of the committee, which is usually limited). There's loads aside from that, but that summarizes the gist of what it is.

I'll brag a little bit here (don't judge me :P), but in my first two conferences of 2015, out of ~60-70 people per conference, I won one of three best delegate awards given per those conferences. I'm 15 in 10th grade and I won these participating at the college level.

http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...

I know I have some capacity when it comes to this realm of discussion, but I also know myself to be very anxious and nervous on the inside.

My broader question is, from the limited description of Model UN style debating and discussion works, how different is it contrasted with the competitive debating that many members of this site do? Would someone who likes MUN fit right into that community, or are there vast differences? How about someone who might struggle in a more pressing and stressful or 'competitive' situation?

There are some things that differ that I can point out early on, aside from the *obvious*. For one, I never have to pre-write or develop my cases; I have a basic outline and that's pretty much it. There's little extensive training or full on exposure to the critiquing of your opponent, but the aspect of "debate" is still there (just not in the "1vs1" sense).

The speaking times are also very different, and in MUN, your point is condensed. Upon first impression, I think I might struggle with use of my time and getting used to focus on elaboration, rather than brevity. I can crack under pressure and I'm not the most eloquent ever, I tend to repeat myself if given excess time

If there's anyone that's done either, or even both, their perspective would be appreciated. Really, just people's perspective on what competitive debating IRL is like would be really appreciated by me, so I can decide whether it's something I'd be comfortable pursuing.

Sorry for the post mountain, so if you actually took the time to read of it, thank you very much.. and sorry to waste your time; cause this turned out longer than I thought, lol.
Thanks again :)
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Adam_Godzilla
Posts: 2,487
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5/26/2015 6:40:26 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 7:23:49 PM, Daltonian wrote:
Since joining DDO, I've tried to divulge more into the world of extracurricular debating. My school is on the smaller side though, and no extracurricular debate programs are really conveniently available, which sucks. I've always wanted to try and do the type of spoken debates that notable members of this site seem to excel at (Liz, bsh, Zaradi, Raisor, etc) but I've never really had the guts to get out and go to the relatively extensive means necessary to try it.

However, I sort of remedied this problem by pursuing a totally different debating style, in the form of Model UN conferences and committees - because that IS available at my school.

The rudimentary concept of participating in a Model UN committee and being on a MUN team is very similar to that of being on a competitive debate team; schools and institutions organize teams of delegates who represent 'nations' or 'organizations' and send them to participate at conferences organized by different colleges. Within each conference, there are a plethora of committees; wherein different subjects will be debated and discussed by the respective delegations.

People speak in 60-120 second intervals at a time, and in rapid succession. You're forced to articulate your points *VERY* briefly. There is usually very little back and forth, because there are 60-70 people trying to get points in. There's a lot of refuting of points, but not consistently between two people - you're not exposed to the full intellectual wrath and criticism of any one delegate.

I really enjoy this form of debating, and from my experience, this form challenges participants to adapt, and serves a very defined purpose for the student [or other level participant].

(1) delegates always have to represent and respect the opinions and positions of their respective countries. They'll often be forced to play Devil's Advocate, and will be exposed to a plethora of new perspectives on the issue.

(2) it provides a very good environment for developing social skills, and presents a [more] realistic environment. Rather than be assessed by an outside party, your success is often determined by your capacity to convince your peers within the committee of the veracity of your position, because each proposed resolution is voted on by each and every participant during the voting procedure - the assessment for things like awards and 'best delegate' is an entirely different phenomena.

Of course, being a bureaucratic process, there are other elements to a committee, like unmoderated caucuses, wherein you're free to work on draft papers and try and convince other delegates on your own time (but usually they're limited to 10 minute intervals, and it takes away from the discussion time of the committee, which is usually limited). There's loads aside from that, but that summarizes the gist of what it is.

I'll brag a little bit here (don't judge me :P), but in my first two conferences of 2015, out of ~60-70 people per conference, I won one of three best delegate awards given per those conferences. I'm 15 in 10th grade and I won these participating at the college level.

http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...

I know I have some capacity when it comes to this realm of discussion, but I also know myself to be very anxious and nervous on the inside.

My broader question is, from the limited description of Model UN style debating and discussion works, how different is it contrasted with the competitive debating that many members of this site do? Would someone who likes MUN fit right into that community, or are there vast differences? How about someone who might struggle in a more pressing and stressful or 'competitive' situation?

There are some things that differ that I can point out early on, aside from the *obvious*. For one, I never have to pre-write or develop my cases; I have a basic outline and that's pretty much it. There's little extensive training or full on exposure to the critiquing of your opponent, but the aspect of "debate" is still there (just not in the "1vs1" sense).

The speaking times are also very different, and in MUN, your point is condensed. Upon first impression, I think I might struggle with use of my time and getting used to focus on elaboration, rather than brevity. I can crack under pressure and I'm not the most eloquent ever, I tend to repeat myself if given excess time

If there's anyone that's done either, or even both, their perspective would be appreciated. Really, just people's perspective on what competitive debating IRL is like would be really appreciated by me, so I can decide whether it's something I'd be comfortable pursuing.

Sorry for the post mountain, so if you actually took the time to read of it, thank you very much.. and sorry to waste your time; cause this turned out longer than I thought, lol.
Thanks again :)

MUN is quiet hectic but it's very fun. It's more about being concise and convincing the crowd than just stating what you believe.

I haven't done debating irl, sorry, but it's nice to know someone on this site has done MUN too.
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Blade-of-Truth
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5/26/2015 12:56:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/25/2015 7:23:49 PM, Daltonian wrote:
My broader question is, from the limited description of Model UN style debating and discussion works, how different is it contrasted with the competitive debating that many members of this site do? Would someone who likes MUN fit right into that community, or are there vast differences? How about someone who might struggle in a more pressing and stressful or 'competitive' situation?

Model UN is probably most similar to Student Congress, which is the type of debate I competed in on my highschool debate team while in the National Catholic Forensic League. If anything, start there, as it seems like it'd be a good transition in going from competing between 60-70 people down to 15-20.

I can't speak on behalf of pf, ld, or policy debaters, because I never invested time into those styles of debate (I was only on the debate team for my senior yr of highschool, before that I was always involved in sports).

Would someone who likes MUN fit right into that community, or are there vast differences?

You'd probably do great at student congress, it's more speech-based rather than direct back n' forth debate between only two people. Although it can certainly come down to 1 v. 1 if you find someone who is worth attacking since they've made the best speech or points previously. As for the other style of debates, it's vastly different. In the end though, those who partook in those types of debate would know better than myself since I've never experienced them first-hand.

How about someone who might struggle in a more pressing and stressful or 'competitive' situation?

Funny story: I won 1st place a few times in my district and regional competitions, and was invited to Harvard University for Nationals back in 2008. During the semi-finals, I literally froze. It was so embarrassing. I had the key points of my speech right in-front of me, but for some reason the pressure got to me and I froze. I ended up waving the rest of my time and went to sit down with my tail between my legs. It was so mortifying. After we had a 10 minute recess, I decided to go back up and finish my speech. Although I never made it past the semi-finals at nationals, I received a standing ovation from my fellow congressmen for going back up and finishing my speech. Alot of them came up to me afterwards and said that it was really respectable and courageous of me.

At the end of the day, struggling is a part of the challenge, so I wouldn't let that get to you too much. You'll either eventually overcome it, or you won't. There's no time in life for fear though, and you'll never know unless you try.
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Daltonian
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5/26/2015 3:20:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 6:40:26 AM, Adam_Godzilla wrote:
MUN is quiet hectic but it's very fun. It's more about being concise and convincing the crowd than just stating what you believe.

I haven't done debating irl, sorry, but it's nice to know someone on this site has done MUN too.
Yeah, I totally agree, I love MUN. That's cool, where do you live? MUN conferences where I am are organized by the English Colleges in Quebec, and some of the Universities; it might be different in the states though.
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ShabShoral
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5/26/2015 3:24:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
There doesn't seem to be any intellectual rigor to MUN, which is why I'm turned off by it, but literally no schools within 15 miles offer LD, so I may try it at the college level anyway... it's better than nothing, I suppose.
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Daltonian
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5/26/2015 3:26:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 12:56:40 PM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
At 5/25/2015 7:23:49 PM, Daltonian wrote:
My broader question is, from the limited description of Model UN style debating and discussion works, how different is it contrasted with the competitive debating that many members of this site do? Would someone who likes MUN fit right into that community, or are there vast differences? How about someone who might struggle in a more pressing and stressful or 'competitive' situation?

Model UN is probably most similar to Student Congress, which is the type of debate I competed in on my highschool debate team while in the National Catholic Forensic League. If anything, start there, as it seems like it'd be a good transition in going from competing between 60-70 people down to 15-20.
That sounds interesting. I'd have to search for opportunities to join something like that because I live in Canada, but I'm sure once I get to my CEGEP (college) similar programs will probably be available.

I can't speak on behalf of pf, ld, or policy debaters, because I never invested time into those styles of debate (I was only on the debate team for my senior yr of highschool, before that I was always involved in sports).

Would someone who likes MUN fit right into that community, or are there vast differences?

You'd probably do great at student congress, it's more speech-based rather than direct back n' forth debate between only two people. Although it can certainly come down to 1 v. 1 if you find someone who is worth attacking since they've made the best speech or points previously. As for the other style of debates, it's vastly different. In the end though, those who partook in those types of debate would know better than myself since I've never experienced them first-hand.
I guess are those other styles debates are more on the competitive side? I'm not sure, at least without finding a comfort zone and dedicating time to practice, that I'd excel in a really competitive and pressing situation like a 1v1 LD or policy debate. The Student Congress format that you're talking about actually sounds really interesting though; I wasn't aware it existed. Thanks for the suggestion! That helps and sounds just right for me, actually.

How about someone who might struggle in a more pressing and stressful or 'competitive' situation?

Funny story: I won 1st place a few times in my district and regional competitions, and was invited to Harvard University for Nationals back in 2008. During the semi-finals, I literally froze. It was so embarrassing. I had the key points of my speech right in-front of me, but for some reason the pressure got to me and I froze. I ended up waving the rest of my time and went to sit down with my tail between my legs. It was so mortifying. After we had a 10 minute recess, I decided to go back up and finish my speech. Although I never made it past the semi-finals at nationals, I received a standing ovation from my fellow congressmen for going back up and finishing my speech. Alot of them came up to me afterwards and said that it was really respectable and courageous of me.
That's an awesome story. My first MUN conference I ever did, I barely spoke the entire time. I really wanted to, but the first couple times I tried to speak I fumbled and messed up what I was going to say under the pressure of the limited time constraint; so that discouraged me. I'm glad I kept trying, though, because it's something I'm really passionate about though.

At the end of the day, struggling is a part of the challenge, so I wouldn't let that get to you too much. You'll either eventually overcome it, or you won't. There's no time in life for fear though, and you'll never know unless you try.
Thanks for the advice :)
I'll have to search for debating leagues in my area. My school doesn't really have connections to any of them that I know of, but the Student Congress thing does sound really enticing to me.
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lannan13
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5/26/2015 4:18:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I enjoy MUN, but the idiocracy that occurs there has severely dissapointed me to the point that I didn't even do it last year.
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