So, you want to create a Seminar?

This Document is about seminars for judges organized by judges and held at different events like PTs, GPs, and Judge Conferences.

Possible topics for seminars

This is a collection of possible topics for seminars at large events and/or judge conferences. They are grouped in four main areas.

1.  Train other judges:

  • What to teach
  • How to teach
  • How to evaluate if ready for test
  • How to do the test
  • How to give feedback
  • Roles and tasks of different levels

2.  Study for higher level and/or get better at your job:

  • What to learn
  • How to learn
  • What resources are available
  • How to get to large events
  • Roles and tasks of different levels

3.  Tournaments:

  • How to head judge an event (small size, big size)
  • How to investigate
  • How to disqualify
  • How to lead a team
  • How to work within a team
  • Roles of TO, SK, HJ and FJ
  • Types and methods of compensation

4.  Community:

  • How to build and maintain a players community
  • How to deal with difficult players
  • How to build and maintain a judges community
  • How to deal with difficult judges

Advice for presenters:

1.  Select a Narrowly-Defined Topic:

  • Seminars are typically an hour in length at most, so choose a topic that can easily fit with time to spare in that window.
  • There are a wide variety of topics available, but feel free to (with perhaps some guidance) step out of the box and either create a topic that has not been discussed or develop new materials and activities for an idea that has been discussed.

2.  Be Prepared:

  • Develop an outline for what your seminar will cover.
  • Have handouts or materials prepared in advance of the seminar for your participants.  It helps your participants to jog their memory about important points that you make during your seminar that they may or may not recall after 2 or 3 days of judging.
  • Think about what questions might be asked in advance and how to address those questions.
  • Provide contact information so that judges can follow up with you after a seminar.

3.  Make it Active:

  • While some topics are more conducive to action than others, every participant should feel engaged and drawn into your seminar.
  • Use discussion as well as other group activities to break up the time spent on a topic and help drive home your objectives for your presentation.  For example, investigations have many details and intricacies that could be chronicled for hours in length.  How about a discussion in small groups about different scenarios that highlight your main points?  Or how about a live observation of judges interviewing a player suspected of cheating?  Be creative in your approach!

4.  Ask for Feedback:

  • Ask judges after a seminar about your presentation.  What areas were covered well?  Were there areas that could have been covered better?  Did a topic crop up that could become a separate seminar topic?
  • Did the seminar or discussion break down at any point?  What ways can you help make your seminar flow more smoothly?

Advice for judges organizing seminars:

1.  Keep it Moving:

  • At an hour each, several seminars can easily eat up an entire day if they aren’t scheduled and proctored appropriately. Make sure that you have a schedule in advance and that you have someone in place to maintain that schedule.
  • Have the proctor give a 10 and 5 minute warning toward the end of each seminar.
  • Make sure that adequate floor coverage is scheduled so that tournaments in progress are not hindered by the seminar, nor is the seminar interrupted by judges being called to the floor to work.

2.  Topics:

  • Try to schedule diverse seminar topics throughout the day, particularly within a four or five hour grouping.
  • Having a second seminar cover a major area of judging is ok. Just make sure you schedule this so that it is accessible at different times of day. (i.e. 9am and 6pm, not 1pm and 3pm).
  • Tailor them to your audience.
  • Two parallel sessions (one targetted at experienced, the other at fresh judges) might work for you.
  • Always try to have the “Basics” (how to hand out rulings, deviations/upgrades, Slow Play, Investigations) on the schedule.
  • Ask your audience what they want to have.

3.  Accountability and Communication:

  • Make sure all presenters are aware in advance of the time they are allotted and the resources they have, if any (i.e. projector, computer, screen, electrical outlet).
  • Urge all presenters to submit outlines in advance so that content can be scheduled appropriately, and that overlap between topics can be handled well before the event.
  • Partner presenters with one another and ask them to submit their outlines to each other for peer feedback and questions to improve the quality of each others seminar.
  • Make sure to have a floor manager or capable judge proctoring the seminar area to help maintain floor coverage as well as maintain a successful seminar environment.

4.  Schedule:

  • If the seminars are while a tournament runs, repeat them.
  • Everything from having one seminar per hour to only four or five with play time in between throughout a day works.
  • The length of presentations can be from 30 minutes up to 1.5 hours.