We are passionate about our mission because we are sure about our calling. While trophies are exciting and competition refines speaking and thinking skills in a way that other activities cannot match, our goal is not to simply provide a venue for academic sport. NCFCA’s purpose and commitment is to equip every student with the life skills necessary to engage the culture in a meaningful way.
NCFCA Mission Statement
The mission of the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA) is to promote excellence in communications through competitive opportunities where homeschool students develop the skills necessary to think critically and communicate effectively in order to address life issues from a biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God. In keeping with its Mission Statement, the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA) has developed a Philosophy and Vision Statements to guide league activities.
Vision of ForensicsDOWNLOAD VISION OF FORENSICS PDF
NCFCA seeks to carefully maintain the unique vision of homeschooled forensics first advocated by the Home School Legal Defense Association when it launched homeschool debate in 1997. As stated in the NCFCA mission, the ultimate purpose of NCFCA forensics is to provide a means for homeschooled students to learn and exercise analytical and oratorical skills, addressing life issues from a biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God. Rather than pursuing competitive forensics as an end unto itself, NCFCA encourages students to pursue forensics as a means to learn the skills necessary to effectively communicate truth to the world.
In order to accomplish and protect this vital mission, NCFCA has intentionally adopted a philosophy of forensics designed to encourage students to learn the skills necessary to be effective witnesses for Christ. While others may pursue speech and debate for the sport, NCFCA aims to use forensics to teach life skills. For this reason, NCFCA supports a real-world, conversational style of speech and debate and advocates the use of content and strategy that ultimately upholds a biblical worldview.
Careful attention must be given to the judging of academic forensics in order to preserve the style upon which the league was founded. A number of leagues have started with good intentions, only to find that a short time later, the forensic activity has become a strategy-centered activity focused on persuading experts rather than on training real-world communicators. In order to avoid this familiar path, NCFCA intentionally seeks to broaden its judging pool to include not only forensics experts, but also those with no previous experience or training in forensics.
The diverse NCFCA judging pool includes experienced judges (both those with NCFCA experience and those from other leagues), lay judges, affiliated judges (e.g., parents and coaches), community judges, and judges with worldviews which are both similar to and different from those of NCFCA competitors. Each type of judge adds something unique and important to the judging pool. Experienced judges give the benefit of their knowledge to competitors. Lay judges give competitors the chance to persuade the type of audiences they are most likely to meet outside the competition round—those with no formal training in forensics.
The benefits of a broad judging pool are further explained in the NCFCA Judge Philosophy (see side tab on this page)
There are three purposes of NCFCA judge orientations, and each purpose corresponds to the judge's forensics experience. In an orientation, judges with NCFCA experience should receive updated information and clarification. Judges with other experience should be shown the unique aspects of the league. Judges with no previous experience need to be empowered to feel comfortable judging.
Because forensics itself is based upon basic theories of human nature and common-sense logic, NCFCA views the average adult as already possessing the skills necessary to judge a round of NCFCA competition. NCFCA discourages efforts to use the orientation time to train lay judges into experts and instead encourages a method of judge orientation that helps lay judges to feel comfortable relying on their intuitive decision-making abilities to adjudicate rounds according to NCFCA rules.
Judge PhilosophyDOWNLOAD FULL JUDGE PHILOSOPY PDF
Many observers, coaches, and contestants have asked what kinds of judges NCFCA wishes to incorporate to adjudicate rounds of competition and the reasons why NCFCA supports certain types of judges. NCFCA has elsewhere published official league rules for debate and individual events, debate judging manuals, and judging instructions for individual speaking events. The main purpose of this document, however, is to offer a broader explanation of NCFCA's overall philosophy of judging. Furthermore, this document seeks to describe the types of judges that will best serve the NCFCA community, assist tournament directors in their efforts to find the best judges for league events, and give competitors a starting point for audience analysis. To accomplish these goals, this document will examine judge diversity within the NCFCA judging community, analyze strengths and weaknesses of various types of judges, and demonstrate that a balanced approach works well to develop competent Christian communicators who are prepared to reach a broad range of audience members.
The diverse NCFCA judging pool includes experienced judges (both those with NCFCA experience and those from other leagues), lay judges, affiliated judges (e.g., parents and coaches), community judges, and judges with worldviews which are both similar to and different from those of NCFCA competitors. It is helpful to understand these different types of judges in the context of the Judge Matrix (see diagram).
Judges who are familiar with the goals of this league and the theory and practice of forensics may provide detailed critiques for competitors and thorough reasons for their decisions. At the same time, lay judges encourage competitors to become so adept at their particular skill that they can literally teach others and explain their position even to those with no prior knowledge of competitive speech or debate. Lay judges may also provide competitors opportunities to use the techniques necessary to explain and defend their worldview to audience members with different or opposing beliefs.
Judges from the community and judges who are affiliated with competitors also have important roles to play within the NCFCA. Within certain guidelines, NCFCA tournament directors can rely on the help of parents, coaches, and friends of competitors as well as members of the community in a manner that is fair and beneficial to all.
Competitors gain unique benefits both from judges who share their worldview and those with different worldviews, learning how to communicate with those who share their values as well as to persuade those who do not. Therefore, the NCFCA welcomes and values the participation of many different types of judges in league events.