Public Speaking from the Minds of Students
Building Skills, Gaining Confidence
The purpose of public speaking originally began as a way of presenting information in person to a live audience; however, it has morphed into numerous variants such as entertainment, education, and informational. As an educator, I know what I am looking and listening for when I participate in a public speaking forum with students. But I wanted to delve further into this realm and try to discover what learning public speaking means to students.
A common theme amongst students that were interviewed is CONFIDENCE. Jack Z., Reading/Writing Level 8 states, “Public speaking is how you speak in the public or with a group of people. Public speaking would help you become more confident when you talk to a group of people and it would also make you more confident in many other ways.” Jason Z., Level 9, Jack’s brother, elaborated by stating, “Public speaking would help me with my confidence in speaking to large groups of people. Or if you don’t plan on speaking to a group of people, it could just help you in your everyday life with talking. It could also help you with your writing. In order to make a speech, you have to make sure all aspects of your writing are okay.”
In accordance with Jason’s thoughts, Jenna Y., Level 8, stated, “Public speaking can be scary for most people, which is understandable since they must talk in front of people. I had done a public speaking class before in SpiderSmart a few years ago and it let me feel a little bit more confident. I still get nervous and scared, but less than before. A public speaking class can help me improve my socializing more and meet new people. It can help a lot of people with social anxiety.”
It seems to be a consensus that public speaking will help students to not be afraid to speak in front of people and gain the poise they need as they grow and face numerous challenges using language to convey their thoughts eloquently. Stage fright when giving a speech can be crippling; however, as Johnny L., Level 8, stated, “Public speaking class can also help a student overcome stage fright if they have them. I for instance used to be very afraid of giving presentations and speeches in front of people for school or other reasons, but after taking these classes I was able to face my fears and give out long and meaningful presentations in front of a large crowd.”
Finally, Rex P., SpiderSmart Level 10, summed it up clearly, “Public speaking would help someone as they grow by teaching people how to speak with elocution, especially to a crowd. It will teach them how to confidently and clearly persuade crowds of people. These skills can be extremely helpful to someone’s life since people with public speaking skills can easily connect with other figures as well as by influencing decisions made in the public.”
We can distinctly see similarities between the children’s thought processes on the meaning of public speaking; that it develops the ability of speaking to multiple people, presents knowledge or opinions with a powerful impact, and builds composure that will benefit them for years to come.
Public Speaking. Just do it and reap the benefits.