JUDGE AND COACH: Sara Monguzzi
Sara Monguzzi judged the final editions of WeDebate in 2022 and 2023. She will also be helping coach our students.
Here is an interview with Sara.
• When and where did you first get involved with WeDebate?
o Sometime the points I give each speaker ,which at the end result in the overall score of the team , can end up being the same. However, I tend to always decide a winner by checking the overall fluidity and the coordination between the members that make up the teams.
• Do you find it more difficult to judge or to speak in a debate?
o Definitely being a judge! While debating mainly needs courage and a good preparation, judging needs experience and extreme attention all throughout. And not only that, you also need to be extremely critical of the debaters and deliver the necessary feedback.
• Normally, how many judges are there?
o Normally there are 3 judges present in a debate ( since there needs to be a majority vote) . But in smaller scale debates there usually is only one.
• What are the 3 most important factors in deciding which team wins?
o 1. The personal score of each speaker ( which are points rewarded for : form, style, time and content)
o 2. The coordination in the arguments presented by the team ( the strongest argument usually comes first, then come the other two which need to follow-up the team line that was presented)
o 3. The confidence and participation that characterizes each team ( the members need to be sure of what they are doing as well as actively involved in the debate , engaging with elements such as POIs)
• What is the most challenging aspect of being a judge?
o It has to be delivering the feedback as constructively and as nicely as possible. Every judge is aware that a speaker cannot be perfect. When we point out mistakes made by the speakers we are hyper aware of how the student is going to perceive it. Overall the hardest part consists in indicating flaws found in each speech , without excessively sugar-coating it or being too harsh.
• What happens if the losing team completely disagrees with the judges decision? Can they appeal?
o It is very rare to see a team that outright disagrees with the judge’s decision ( the judge always provides clear commentary which explains their decision) . But it’s not impossible to encounter teams that don’t agree with the decision ruled by the judge. Unfortunately however , it is impossible to appeal a decision once it’s made ( unless it is due to the incompetence or bias of the judge) . Not to worry though, debaters can ask for personal feedback or further clarification at any time during the final ruling.