The Political Side of Forensics

The art of public speaking is one that takes time for people to cultivate. Years of practice and participation in a variety of public speaking activities, such as MUN, have what gotten the individuals of the ISKL SEA Forensics team to where they are today. However, Forensics is much more than being able to engage the audience and being able to think on your feet. In fact, in one category, a vast knowledge on politics and global affairs, current and on the past, is required to excel in, which is Oral Extemp. Alexis ‘18 shares how being familiar and educated on everything that’s going on around our world can truly allow you stand out.

Oral extemp, in Alexis’s words, is where “contestants get two questions they have never seen before from an envelope and using articles they collected previously, try to construct a speech that lasts 7 minutes…” However, they are only given 30 minutes and a tiny notecard to prepare. Being politically sound is crucial to succeeding in oral extemp.  “Knowing things before hand about the world, geopolitics, history even- all this is very important when you construct your speech. Knowing it before you go in can make your speech that much better.” Gathering and learning this information, however, was no easy task. “We’ve been preparing for many months now just reading up articles on the internet, trying to increase our political knowledge; we’ve been collecting articles in advance for our folders that we will be using in the prep room…”

Though this political knowledge has helped Alexis exceed in Forensics, it has also helped him in his classes. “Many of my classes require some, at least decent understanding of current politics…especially my english teacher…. The combination of knowing history and current politics are both very important, especially in Lang & Lit.” Furthermore, he also feels that all the history, politics, and global affairs he has learned has made him a different kind of person today. “ It makes me a more globally aware person and it allows you to participate in daily life… Activism is not something that happens when people are quiet. It’s when people are informed, when people know what they are doing and when people get practice speaking in public and speaking about issues that are of great importance in the world. All this is really important if you want to make change in the future.”

When asked what people who wish to do oral extemp next year should do to prepare he suggests that they “get a handle on the news and participate… you don’t get good at extemp in one try, it’s an arduous process… start early, practice your speaking, and eventually you will get to that level.”