Middle Level Speech

Engaging Pre-Adolescent Learners

Middle school studentLearning Objectives

  • Promote literacy: students read, write, speak, and listen
  • Build confidence and social skills through peer support
  • Foster information literacy and research
  • Develop critical thinking skills and logical reasoning
  • Increase social awareness and responsibility
  • Provide outlet for creative expression for both gifted and at-risk youth
  • Conquer stage fright before fear of public speaking can develop
  • Allow students to explore topics of personal relevance
  • Extend learning in cross-curricular topics

Gains in a pre-teen’s academic, cognitive, and social abilities are so consistent and substantial that we owe it to our young people to train them in forensics. Cultivating skills through forensic activities meets curricular standards for literacy and language arts, and enhances performance on high-stakes, standardized tests.

Participation Philosophy

Teachers who work effectively with students in middle level grades are aware of the adolescent need for positive reinforcement and success. Therefore, the WHSFA Middle Level Division is founded on:

  • Opportunities for participation
  • Opportunities for learning; and
  • Opportunities for success.

Interscholastic Festivals

  • Festival contests promote individual achievement through rating and constructive criticism
  • Non-competitive; students are not compared to each other; they are evaluated on a rubric
  • $100 annual school dues covers student participation in two contests – including awards!

The Wisconsin High School Forensic Association has been serving Wisconsin students since the 1895-96 school year. H. L. Eubank, Professor Emeritus of Speech at UW-Madison has stated, "We need constantly to remind ourselves that these contests and all other activities of the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association are educational projects." That philosophy remains consistent with the activities conducted by the Association since its founding.

Middle LevelOne outgrowth of that educational attitude and belief was the development of the Middle Level Division in 1979. The individuals involved; school administrators, middle and junior high school teachers, State Office staff and University personnel, developed the following philosophy of participation:

"Teachers who work effectively with middle and junior high school students are aware of the adolescent need for positive reinforcement and success. Therefore, the WHSFA Middle Level Division is founded on: (1) opportunities for participation; (2) opportunities for learning; and, (3) opportunities for success. Strong competition that results in the feeling of elimination is not a part of this program. A Middle Level Division forensic program should build knowledge, confidence and interest in speaking as a lifelong skill."

Learn more about categories (contest events) and topics >>

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pdf Middle Level Handbook (2016-17)

pdf Middle Level Adjudicator (Judge) Guidelines

For more documents, visit the "Forms/Resources" link in the Middle Level menu above.