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Speech and debate coaches may not fit the cultural stereotype of “a coach” in popular culture. Nonetheless, speech and debate coaches are coaches in every sense that matters: they help students improve, to see the best in themselves, and learn lifelong lessons. The bond formed between speech and debate coaches and their students is a special connection—just ask these coaches how many letters of recommendation they are asked to compose for seniors they have coached for years. Because the position of speech and debate coach has such an impact on the young lives of the students with whom they work, it behooves coaches to think critically and reflectively about how to improve their coaching skills. This guide is a part of that reflection process.

As educators, we should be “reflective practitioners,” continually working to grow and learn as educators, advocates, evaluators, and coaches. The goal of this guide is to help you consider various perspectives and reflect on those areas that are necessary to become both successful and impactful as a professional in the realm of speech and debate. In our experience, there is no end to our learning as humans, and the same is true in speech and debate, so it is our hope that you will come back to these questions as you gain experience and knowledge.

There is little room for reflection in our attention-driven technological landscape. So much is competing for attention that it becomes difficult to train ourselves to focus on the things we know actually matter. This reflection guide is much like a journaling practice—it helps us develop reflective habits and think about how to improve our practice. This is a framework we can use as necessary, and also helps us as educators develop the habits of mind that make reflection a consistent mental habit.

Course Time: 1 hour