What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

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kmcginnis
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What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by kmcginnis » Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:25 pm

Yeah - it sounds whiny, HOWEVER. Last year, with the best team (that won the regional competition) I've ever "coached" got eliminated and the reader was horrible. He mispronounced words, SPELLED THEM, and other things I've blacked out of consciousness. What can a coach do about bad readers?

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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:41 pm

Obviously you need to say something to the tournament director about atrociously bad readers. Any reader that just has difficulty pronouncing things really just needs more experience, but a reader who is holding up the tournament by being especially bad should have something done. It's probably not prudent or helpful to say anything to the reader himself, but just to the director, hopefully before the competition is over. At the end of the day is fine, because there are so many things a TD has to worry about that he might not be able to do anything about it, but after the tournament he should reflect on the good and bad things, including moderators.

Long story short, you're just going to have to deal with bad moderators some times. Very very few tournaments have 100% excellent readers, and most have at least one or two subpar ones. There is a learning curve to moderating, and sometimes you just happen to be that team in that room for that one bad reader. It happens.
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:45 pm

kmcginnis wrote:SPELLED THEM
Just a thought, wouldn't this be better a better alternative (if there's no pronunciation key) as opposed to the reader trying to pronounce words that they apparently couldn't pronounce in the first place? I mean, if push comes to shove, a reader should be at least accurate in what they say and not jumble a word up and possibly hose a team, right? (I.e., "Acetylcholine" is different from "Acetylene") I would imagine in theory that some of these "bad readers" weren't/aren't prepared in the first place to read, or, didn't intend to read for the tournament, but got "drafted" into it because of staffing issues.
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:12 pm

Ulster Clay Pigeon Shooting Association wrote:
kmcginnis wrote:SPELLED THEM
Just a thought, wouldn't this be better a better alternative (if there's no pronunciation key) as opposed to the reader trying to pronounce words that they apparently couldn't pronounce in the first place? I mean, if push comes to shove, a reader should be at least accurate in what they say and not jumble a word up and possibly hose a team, right? (I.e., "Acetylcholine" is different from "Acetylene") I would imagine in theory that some of these "bad readers" weren't/aren't prepared in the first place to read, or, didn't intend to read for the tournament, but got "drafted" into it because of staffing issues.
But in practice this is not only absurdly slow, it isn't always too helpful. For some complicated long chemistry word, for example, are you really able to follow it letter by letter as the guy slowly and painstakingly spells it out? Unless you're writing it down as he goes, it's difficult. I know I've never buzzed off a word spelled out by a moderator, and normally prefer them to just mangle it as best they can and move on.
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by ryandillon » Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:44 pm

Plan Rubber wrote:
Ulster Clay Pigeon Shooting Association wrote:
kmcginnis wrote:SPELLED THEM
Just a thought, wouldn't this be better a better alternative (if there's no pronunciation key) as opposed to the reader trying to pronounce words that they apparently couldn't pronounce in the first place? I mean, if push comes to shove, a reader should be at least accurate in what they say and not jumble a word up and possibly hose a team, right? (I.e., "Acetylcholine" is different from "Acetylene") I would imagine in theory that some of these "bad readers" weren't/aren't prepared in the first place to read, or, didn't intend to read for the tournament, but got "drafted" into it because of staffing issues.
But in practice this is not only absurdly slow, it isn't always too helpful. For some complicated long chemistry word, for example, are you really able to follow it letter by letter as the guy slowly and painstakingly spells it out? Unless you're writing it down as he goes, it's difficult. I know I've never buzzed off a word spelled out by a moderator, and normally prefer them to just mangle it as best they can and move on.
I've found that even if someone isn't pronouncing correctly, whether they elect to spell it out or not, if someone has knowledge of the clue in question, they're able to buzz in. With that said, I think that even if moderators come across a word that they have no idea how to pronounce, they should just read it the best they can. Players with solid knowledge are often able to contextualize clues if the pronunciation is even close, and in the event nobody knows it, then the spelling just messes with the pace of the game.
Ryan Dillon

Detroit Catholic Central Class of 2011
University of Michigan Class of 2015

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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by Auroni » Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:52 pm

Sets should put in pronunciation guides for words that are likely to make people pause. Another thing that some sets did that I liked was to put dots between syllables of long (science) words.
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:53 pm

Plan Rubber wrote:
Ulster Clay Pigeon Shooting Association wrote:
kmcginnis wrote:SPELLED THEM
Just a thought, wouldn't this be better a better alternative (if there's no pronunciation key) as opposed to the reader trying to pronounce words that they apparently couldn't pronounce in the first place? I mean, if push comes to shove, a reader should be at least accurate in what they say and not jumble a word up and possibly hose a team, right? (I.e., "Acetylcholine" is different from "Acetylene") I would imagine in theory that some of these "bad readers" weren't/aren't prepared in the first place to read, or, didn't intend to read for the tournament, but got "drafted" into it because of staffing issues.
But in practice this is not only absurdly slow, it isn't always too helpful. For some complicated long chemistry word, for example, are you really able to follow it letter by letter as the guy slowly and painstakingly spells it out? Unless you're writing it down as he goes, it's difficult. I know I've never buzzed off a word spelled out by a moderator, and normally prefer them to just mangle it as best they can and move on.
Just to piggy back on what Joe said, if you are a chemistry player, you are probably used to people butchering stuff, and 95% of the time I know what the actual word was, even if I have no idea what the answer to a tossup was. If you buzzed off the mispronounced word, because you thought it was was something else, then you probably shouldn't have buzzed. If you get hosed on acetylene vs. acetylcholine, you were in the wrong subject area anyways. One is the fuel used for welding and the simplest alkyne, while the other is a neurotransmitter.

Also, I butcher Eastern European stuff like no other, and coaches have corrected me on the spot. I take no issue with that whatsoever. The only way any moderator can get better is repetition, so it is part of the game.
Nalin
Scranton Middle School (2000-2003)
Brighton High School (2003-2007)
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by jonpin » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:07 pm

Pszczew wrote:Just to piggy back on what Joe said, if you are a chemistry player, you are probably used to people butchering stuff, and 95% of the time I know what the actual word was, even if I have no idea what the answer to a tossup was. If you buzzed off the mispronounced word, because you thought it was was something else, then you probably shouldn't have buzzed. If you get hosed on acetylene vs. acetylcholine, you were in the wrong subject area anyways. One is the fuel used for welding and the simplest alkyne, while the other is a neurotransmitter.
This doesn't necessarily apply to things like alkene/alkyne, though.
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by tintinnabulation » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:44 pm

The other day it occurred to me that QB moderators are often teachers or parents who don't have a clue what's going on. Even though there's hardly any way to learn how to moderate without moderating, if you're in charge of a home basketball game, you don't just go, "Hey, we want you to ref tomorrow night. Here's a rule book," to someone who's never watched basketball before. They would say, "Is that a foul? Do we go to the free throws now?" and everybody would get mad at them. But somehow we throw parents and teachers into being the executors of justice in QB matches when they haven't even watched a match before.

I don't think there's a good way to fix this, but it's really not fair.
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:33 pm

I certainly think one thing we could do is have a training session for teachers who will be reading at tournaments who don't have previous quiz bowl experience (I certainly would like to do this for Kirksville's tournament in February).
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by rchschem » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:44 am

MickeyR0urke wrote:I certainly think one thing we could do is have a training session for teachers who will be reading at tournaments who don't have previous quiz bowl experience (I certainly would like to do this for Kirksville's tournament in February).
And yet this is surprisingly ineffective. There must be multiple sessions. And it doesn't work with some readers even so. The potential reader must have some basic level of talent.
Eric Grunden, Research Triangle High School/NCATA

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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by the return of AHAN » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:05 pm

tintinnabulation wrote:The other day it occurred to me that QB moderators are often teachers or parents who don't have a clue what's going on. Even though there's hardly any way to learn how to moderate without moderating, if you're in charge of a home basketball game, you don't just go, "Hey, we want you to ref tomorrow night. Here's a rule book," to someone who's never watched basketball before. They would say, "Is that a foul? Do we go to the free throws now?" and everybody would get mad at them. But somehow we throw parents and teachers into being the executors of justice in QB matches when they haven't even watched a match before.

I don't think there's a good way to fix this, but it's really not fair.
And THIS is why I like to offer money to anyone who moderates my tournament. Oh sure, the administration asks that I offer it to teachers, but I make sure that the less experienced readers are in the lower pools, and teachers who garner lots of complaints don't get asked back.
Jeff Price, Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by tuscumbiaqb » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:28 pm

I have found that it usually takes attending three practices or moderating training sessions (and being able to actually moderate for an extended length of time at each) for teachers/administrators without quiz bowl experience to become comfortable with the flow of a game and have a reasonable grasp of the rules. As far as reading fluency and the ability to pronounce things, you either have or it or you don't, and running training sessions isn't going to fix a deficiency in that area.
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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:37 pm

rchschem wrote:
MickeyR0urke wrote:I certainly think one thing we could do is have a training session for teachers who will be reading at tournaments who don't have previous quiz bowl experience (I certainly would like to do this for Kirksville's tournament in February).
And yet this is surprisingly ineffective. There must be multiple sessions. And it doesn't work with some readers even so. The potential reader must have some basic level of talent.
Yeah, I meant to say multiple training sessions but I forgot to include that. Whoops.
Jacob O'Rourke
Washington (MO) HS Assistant Coach (2014-Present); MOQBA Secretary (2015-Present)
Formerly: HSAPQ Host Contact; NASAT Outreach Coordinator (2016 and 2017); Kirksville HS Assistant Coach (2012-2014); Truman State '14; and Pacific High (MO) '10


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Re: What do you do about bad readers at tournaments?

Post by Jcunningham1780 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:35 am

I took over once. The reader was taking forever and providing anecdotes about nearly every question. It drove me insane. I stopped her during a pause, informed her that we needed to go faster, and that I'd take over. I felt bad after, but all the kids were thankful.

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