Speaking persuasively to an audience has never been more important. Public speaking teaches ninth graders to stand and deliver. It also teaches them the valuable skill of listening and assessing. Students learn to weave the three classic modes of argument (logos, ethos, and pathos) with fact, value, and policy into a persuasive argument. Critical to the process, in addition to practice and revision, is learning how to give constructive feedback on the content and performance of her peers’ speeches as well as to solicit and absorb it for her own. Voice volume and quality, pacing, eye contact, and physical presence are assessed and practiced.
This course teaches students how to integrate media and slides into their presentations by building on the public speaking component of the curriculum. High standards for the design and use of Powerpoint and Keynote teach students that an effective slide presentation does not sit alone; it requires the manipulation of those slides by a skilled presenter. Students learn how to interpret and design graphs and charts using the basic math language of Microsoft Excel.
Students are evaluated on their preparation for class and their participation in and response to feedback. The emphasis on speaking in front of an audience is reinforced throughout the curriculum. Ultimately, students must deliver speeches for formal assessment.