Guidelines and Rules

    • Problem-solving Discussion is an effort on the part of a small group to reach a solution to a problem through informal interchange of facts, inferences, and judgments. This method of discussion seeks consensus rather than majority rule. The focus of this event should be the encouragement of cooperation and critical thinking to arrive at the collective goal of better understanding and problem-solving.
    • The topic(s) for Discussion shall be approved each year by the Board of Directors.
    • The Discussion group shall be composed of not more than eight contestants. Additional sections may be scheduled if the number of contestants exceeds eight. The Discussion activity shall be conducted according to the following procedure:
      • A study outline and bibliography of the main topic(s) and related sub-topics will be posted on the MSHSL website.
      • The discussion will be task-oriented where participants act as members of a group whose goal is most frequently an agreed-upon statement of policy, rules, lists, etc., which may also include rationale.
      • Tasks for MSHSL-sponsored contests will be furnished by the League (as are cuttings and questions for other draw categories) and will not mandate any specific agenda. Invitational festival managers should create tasks for their festivals. Specific tasks will be drawn prior to each round of discussion.
      • The discussants should control their own process of inquiry. Emerging leadership from within the group should develop. Management of time for that round should remain the responsibility of the discussants themselves. Judges are not to participate. At no time should a Judge become a part of the discussion. Judges should not suggest an agenda, give an opinion, or give oral critiques.

    The basis for judging Discussion should place emphasis on the task and social dimensions of group interaction. These questions may serve as a guide:

    1. Did the discussant's contributions add to the group effort?
    2. Did the discussant possess sufficient information, and was the information of high quality?
    3. Did the discussant's contributions reflect an understanding of major issues?
    4. Did the discussant's behavior reflect a respect for the dignity and worth of other participants?
    5. Did the discussant exhibit active listening skills?

     Judges must be given and must use the criteria listed on the "Individual Critique Sheet for Discussion." Judge(s) may write a group critique sheet to be duplicated by the Contest Manager for each member of the Discussion group.