Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 18, 2014: Semester Recaps: Intro to Speech

[The Fall 2014 semester is coming to a close, and as usual I wanted to end the semester with some reflections on my courses and other conversations, leading up to a weekend post on some anticipations of spring (and not just the season; although, yes). I’d love to hear some of your Fall 2014 reflections in comments!]
Three reflections at the end of my first semester teaching Intro to Speech.
1)      We All Have More to Learn: Yes, I gave sample versions of the Persuasive and Informational Speeches I required of my students—but those were on Bruce Springsteen and the Wilmington Coup and Massacre, respectively, so I felt pretty comfortable with each. But one of the Thursday evening classes happened to take place immediately before I delivered my first Pecha Kucha presentation, with and during which I felt much, much less comfortable. A good reminder of how much, when it comes to speech or any other skill, we all can and must continue to learn and grow.
2)      But We Also Know More than We Think: As I wrote in the above-linked Fall Preview post, as the semester commenced I felt distinctly unsure about how to teach an Intro to Speech course. But as we got into the work of the course, and especially as we talked about tips and strategies related to both kinds of speeches specifically and the art of presentation more broadly, I realized that much of my professional work, from teaching and conference talks to my last year and a half of book talks, has prepared me quite directly for teaching this particular topic. It definitely helped that I had chosen a very clear and practical textbook to accompany those conversations. But my own experiences became a more and more overt part of our discussions and work as well, and that was a good reminder of what they have helped me learn.
3)      Public School Teachers Are Awesome: True, my own family, as well as my experiences as a student, have long since taught me this lesson. And true, in my Graduate English courses at FSU I’ve taught many secondary educators, all of whom have reinforced this perspective. But the students in this course represented a community with whom I hadn’t had a chance to work previously: vocational educators, teaching at the course’s site (Monty Tech) as well as many other regional vocational high schools. Through their persuasive and informative speeches, as well as through many other aspects of our discussions and their voices, I got to learn a great deal about their teaching and work, and all that they bring to them. And sure enough, I have one more semester’s worth of evidence for the awesomeness of our public educators.
Last recap tomorrow,

PS. What stands out from your semester or fall?

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