Forensics Team


What is Forensics?

Forensics is the oldest academic subject still taught in our colleges and universities today. Coined by Aristotle, forensics means "speaking for judgment" or competitive speaking; and thus, competitive speaking in schools as well as legal speaking in debate fall under the heading of forensics.

Why Should I Participate in Forensics?

Forensics has had, and continues to have, a tremendous influence in the United States. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and Reagan were all involved in forensics. In a recent survey of Who's Who, forensics was chosen as the single most valuable class the people surveyed had taken in school. It will improve your communication skills, study habits, and confidence; and it is a valuable addition to your resume if you wish to transfer to a competitive university. Needless to say, we think the forensics team is the place to be, regardless of which path you plan to pursue after ECC. The benefits of being on the forensics team reach far beyond just improving your speaking skills and winning trophies – though, granted, these are rewarding by-products.

What Are The Goals and Philosophy of the El Camino Coaches?

Our main goal is to help you develop into the best public speaker you can be. To achieve this goal, you must be willing to devote time, effort, and a positive attitude towards the activity and the people involved in it. While your coaches will become your primary resources in direction and guidance, it is up to you to be prepared. Communicate what your specific goals are in forensics and we will do all we can to help you.

We believe that winning should be kept it perspective. Dedication and hard work is almost always rewarded in forensics; it is usually just a question of time. Forensics tournaments are judged subjectively and we all accept that when we begin competing. The ironic thing about taking trophies is that it seems to happen just when you stop speaking or debating solely for them.

 We also believe that different people will progress and grow differently in this activity. Forensics tournaments are stressful environments. Students need and deserve to be well prepared before they are entered in events. Your skill level, willingness and ability to practice, and ability to function well in a competitive team-oriented activity all factor into our decisions regarding competitive readiness.

How Much Time Does Forensics Take?

The amount of time that a student dedicates to forensics is a personal decision. The team meets for practice every Monday and Wednesday from 1:30-2:45, and travels to about five, mostly local, weekend tournaments each semester. Although the coaches are available by appointment for additional practice, how much work you do is up to you. Some students are happy to compete in one or two events at local tournaments, while others want to make it to the State and National tournaments in three or more events.

What Classes Do I Need To Take?

It is not required that you take any class other than Speech 24 – Forensics Workshop, to be on the forensics team. There are several classes, however, that are highly recommended, depending on your area(s) of interest. They are: Speech 1 – Public Speaking. This class will give you the theoretical and practical foundation you need to speak effectively in public. Speech 4 – Argumentation and Debate. The sections of this course taught by Mark Crossman and Francesca Bishop focus on the principles of Parliamentary Debate, and are preparation for competitive collegiate debate. Speech 8 – Oral Interpretation of Literature. Diana Crossman's sections of this class teach the competitive form of oral interpretation and provide the framework you will need to compete successfully.

Who Pays for Entry Fees and Travel Expenses?

El Camino pays for all entry fees, hotel rooms, and airplane tickets, as necessary. We also provide money for meals at out-of-town tournaments. All you need bring is money for incidentals.

What Happens at Tournaments?

  • Speech tournaments defy linguistic descriptions. They must be experienced to be totally understood.  However, here is a partial list of what happens at a tournament
  • Students from anywhere between 20 and 70 colleges and universities meet on a college campus to compete. The competition is divided into several categories, divisions, and events.
  • Speaking takes place in classrooms, usually in front of several fellow competitors and one judge.
  • You meet and often become friends with students and coaches from the other schools.
  • You experience feelings of exhilaration, relief, inspiration, depression, fatigue, and tremendous accomplishment. Many times, after an exhausting day of competition, you return the following morning and continue with the same emotions.

Who Can Go To Tournaments?

Everyone who, in the opinion of the coaches is prepared, may attend local tournaments. Financial and competitive considerations may force us to limit the number of people who can travel to various tournaments. Like coaches of any other competitive activity, we do have to make decisions about your readiness to compete. If this is the case, the decision will be based on competitive excellence and suitability for travel.