English 12: Public Speaking, Rhetoric, and Composition
Perhaps no class in high school requires more active participation by students than a Public Speaking course. As we deliver speeches, participate in group activities, and study noteworthy examples of public speaking, students work cooperatively and supportively to promote individuals' learning, enthusiasm, and self-confidence. Ideally, this class will give students as many organized, focused speaking opportunities as possible.
Students will work on skills that are important to effective public speaking. As they critique their own work and that of others, students should become increasingly aware of their own strengths, weaknesses, and growth in class. This reflective process is vital to improving the skills, poise, and overall preparation one should have when speaking to an audience in thoughtful and engaging ways.
We will work on many types of speeches, including but not limited to an impromptu speech, a speech about a college application, speeches about sports and music, great speeches from American history and politics, a speech utilizing a prop, a speech about a film, a brief commercial, a “how to” speech, readers theatre, an interview, debate, a speech about an important historical figure, story-telling, and a speech about a work of literature. Students' speeches often draw significantly from their hobbies, from their college plans, from sports, music, film, and, importantly – as a senior-year English class – from classic literature (e.g., Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Hamlet, or Macbeth; Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man; or poetry by poets such as Sylvia Plath, e e cummings, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Frost, and others).