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Help Me Justify a Quizbowl Class?

Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:07 pm
by TeacherJonB
Howdy!

I'm fortunate to be in a school that already has a quizbowl team, so I'm not looking for help establishing one. What I'm needing is help with a proposal to justify having a class period set aside for quizbowl (and maybe other academic competitions).

Right now, my main argument is that athletics gets them, so why can't we?

Can someone point me towards some research/other documentation I can use to put together a more formal justification and proposal?

Re: Help Me Justify a Quizbowl Class?

Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:13 pm
by Joshua Rutsky
You might have more luck by looking at your competitive math team, if you have one; such teams often have their own class period to practice and study more advanced material.

I found that starting small was a good way to get a foot in the door until the opportunity for a full period presented itself. I went to my administration and asked if all QB team members could be put in my advisory period, so we could use that time to practice daily when other things didn't need to be covered. This was a fairly small and easy thing for them to do, but it provided me with a 20 minute a day window to work with the kids. From there, I was able to leverage our team's improvement and the existence of math team class into an "academic competition team" course, and that's been around for nearly 10 years.

Re: Help Me Justify a Quizbowl Class?

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:09 am
by i never see pigeons in wheeling
TeacherJonB wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:07 pm
Howdy!

I'm fortunate to be in a school that already has a quizbowl team, so I'm not looking for help establishing one. What I'm needing is help with a proposal to justify having a class period set aside for quizbowl (and maybe other academic competitions).

Right now, my main argument is that athletics gets them, so why can't we?

Can someone point me towards some research/other documentation I can use to put together a more formal justification and proposal?
I don't think there's been formal research per se on the effects of quiz bowl on in-class performance or college acceptance (even if such a study were to be conducted, it would be replete with difficult issues of reverse causality and multicollinearity).

I think there's a much more obvious line of argumentation regarding the philosophy of pedagogy (i.e. kids should be taught certain academic things and kids who want to engage with academics beyond the bounds of the school curriculum should be given the opportunity to do so). If they agree with both of those premises (which they should, seeing as you work at a school), then quiz bowl's utility to the school should be self-evident: it reinforces the material that is already taught in school (no English teacher wants their student to completely forget The Great Gatsby nor does a good history teacher want their student to forget that slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War), and it exposes them to new things that those teachers probably want them exposed to but don't have the time to talk about (kids get to learn about Fitzgerald's other works like This Side of Paradise and about the Amistad revolt and be rewarded for it!). It represents the most potent extension of the school's mission to educate a new generation of civic-minded engaged citizens who are intellectually curious and want to learn for its own sake. A little trick I like to use is to ask them if they wrote a thesis or had a particular focus on a topic in their own collegiate experience and then pull up a question on QuizDB extremely pertinent to what they studied. People like to be flattered and can be gratified that students might study the same obscure thing they themselves studied.

Athletics are near and dear to the hearts of many school admins, sometimes to an unfortunate extent, so if you're going to compare to athletics, be sure you do so respectfully and not denigrating to athletics. Other arguments I could deploy in a school include a likely interest in grades and test scores (especially SAT II's and AP's), which is a somewhat speculative conclusion to reach but has a strong line of reasoning behind it.

Re: Help Me Justify a Quizbowl Class?

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:56 pm
by ValenciaQBowl
I don't know if this would help, but a possible practical argument you could make is that having the students practice during school hours could cut down on hours spent in after-school practice. (Assuming, of course, that you hold after-school practices). One would think that would be attractive to parents (or at least be marketed as such to whatever administrator you have to convince).

Re: Help Me Justify a Quizbowl Class?

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:04 pm
by TeacherJonB
ValenciaQBowl wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:56 pm
I don't know if this would help, but a possible practical argument you could make is that having the students practice during school hours could cut down on hours spent in after-school practice. (Assuming, of course, that you hold after-school practices). One would think that would be attractive to parents (or at least be marketed as such to whatever administrator you have to convince).
One of my arguments is going to be similar-- My school allows upperclassmen to have off periods. And I know several seniors who are office aides or something just because they need to fill a hole in their schedule or get an elective credit. I would argue that giving them an academically-oriented class would better support their education than having those gaps.