I've always said that a debate partnership is like an arranged intellectual marriage. Sometimes those partnerships need a little maintenece, and that is what I did tonight... and it was good.
I had a flash of brilliance this morning when I decided to write a set of questions each debater was supposed to answer. Some of the questions were intended to get the debaters to focus on their own successes and weaknesses, some questions focused on their partner's abilities while others were intended to get conversations started about the partnership itself. There was a short set of questions about coaching and tournaments that gave me some feedback as well. The debaters completed the sheet independently and then their partner read what they wrote and we discussed the answers.
All in all, it is the best way I've done these meetings so far. My boys gave one another feedback, as a result some brewing communication problems were discussed openly and my girls appreciated one another and made some decisions that will help them improve. My debater who is used to doing things well fast got an adjustment in his expectations and everyone took some time to reflect on what they've learned and how they can do better the rest of the year.
I am really proud and amazed at how well this bunch is doing. They've only been debating for two months and they are having decent success. They've been working hard and have formed a good squad. I really hope they all make it to the end of the year... I'd be proud to take them to nationals.