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Speakers in Action

Author: Catharine Niuzzo Honaman
Editor: Stephanie Nardei

With content adapted from the following web sites:
http://www.toastmasters.org/tips.asp 10 Tips for Successful Public Speaking
http://www.speechgems.com/persuaders.html A Guide to Persuasive Speech Techniques
http://www.eduref.org/cgi-bin/printlessons.cgi/Virtual/Lessons/Language_Arts/Speech/SPH

Delivering a Persuasive Speech
http://www.studyguide.org/cm101_persuasive_speech.html A study guide for organizing a persuasive speechi



Time: 4 classes
Preparation
Time:
5 hours
Time will need to be spent tape recording speakers on C-Span
Materials: Large sheets of white paper, recordings of speakers delivering testimony before Congressional committees


Abstract
Building on the awareness students now have on the importance of effective public speaking, this lesson will allow them to observe actual people speaking before governmental committees. The class will combine their learnings from the Engage Lesson with speaker observations taped off of C-Span to formulate a rubric on rating speaker effectiveness delivering Congressional testimony. This rubric will help students prepare for the unit’s final project oral presentation on various forms of energy and impact on multiple facets of life, especially environmental health issues.

Purpose – This is the Explore Lesson. Students will create a rubric for rating the speaker effectiveness delivering a Congressional testimony.

Objectives
Students will be able to:
1. Through creation of a rubric, learn effective techniques, and practices in giving presentations in a formal setting to include scientific information.

English Education Standards
LISTENING AND SPEAKING
Standard 3: Students will effectively listen and speak in situations that serve different
purposes and involve a variety of audiences.

Teacher Background
It would be very helpful to read the lessons on public speaking from the 9th grade unit language arts units, especially The Three Appeals in Rhetoric and The Powers of Persuasion.
Public speaking is a common source of stress for everyone. Many of us would like to avoid this problem entirely, but this is hard to do. Whether we work alone or with large numbers of people, eventually we will need to speak in public to get certain tasks accomplished. And if we want to be leaders or achieve anything meaningful in our lives, we will often need to speak to groups, large and small, to be successful.
The truth about public speaking, however, is IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE STRESSFUL! If you correctly understand the hidden causes of public speaking stress, and if you keep just a few key principles in mind, speaking in public will soon become an invigorating and satisfying experience for you.


Resource Websites
10 Tips for Successful Public Speaking http://www.toastmasters.org/tips.asp 
A Guide to Persuasive Speech Techniques http://www.speechgems.com/persuaders.html 
Delivering a Persuasive Speech http://www.eduref.org/cgi-bin/printlessons.cgi/Virtual/Lessons/Language_Arts/Speech/SPH
A study guide for organizing a persuasive speech http://www.studyguide.org/cm101_persuasive_speech.html
Pearson on Public Speaking: http://wps.ablongman.com/ab_public_speaking_2
Advanced Public Speaking Institute: http://www.public-speaking.org/

speaker

 

Activity
1. The more students witness actual Congressional hearings or similar presentations with both critical and supportive audience members, the more understanding students will have. Some students will have already watched proceedings on C-Span, others not. It is suggested you view and tape speakers presented on C-Span close to the time you present this lesson for two reasons. First, the more current topic, the higher interest connectivity to the topic. Second, copyright restrictions on programs taped from television state that the tapes are to be used during 10 consecutive days of instruction with replay once in that period for reinforcement and then the tapes are to be destroyed within 45 days of the broadcast.

2. Review the chart you and the class created in the Engage Lesson on do’s and don’ts of public speaking. Students should have a copy of the finished chart. Play the testimony of one or two speakers while students consult their charts and make notes on the speakers’ behaviors from both the positive and negative columns.

3. After viewing the initial groups of speakers, have a class discussion on whether each one of the speakers successfully delivered a persuasive oral presentation of their position. Students should highlight which techniques and behaviors were effective or ineffective. Should any new techniques or behaviors be added to the lists? Did students seem to connect more with one speaker and why? What made a speaker boring or interesting? Do students think that a speaker who was boring in their eyes perhaps be convincing to a Congressional audience? This should take about two classes.

4. During the third class have the students watch one or two more speakers depending on the time of their presentations. Once again discuss who was effective and who was not. Were the talks appropriate to the official Congressional audience? Hopefully students pick up on more things or be more savvy in evaluating the speaker effectiveness.

5. In the last of the four classes students need to break up into small groups of two or three creating a rubric for this type of formal public speaking based on their observations in the last few days. It is suggested that you have three designations:

A highly effective talk

A moderately effective talk

A poorly delivered talk

You may make a rubric with more gradations if you wish. Have each group work on the specifics of each category. This should take half the class. Have a full class discussion in which each group contributes information and you make one rubric which students will use to rate each other in the Apply Lesson.

6. Here is an example of a rubric that your class could create:

In a highly effective talk the speaker engages with his or her audience through the use of eye contact with confident gestures, such as sitting up straight and appearing calm. He or she speaks slowly and audibly, varying his or her tone to highlight significant points, using complete sentences, specific keywords, and repetition of key points. His or her talk is organized with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. All the arguments are clearly explained. The speaker builds up to the environmental health argument as the most significant point of the talk. The speaker exudes an air of responsibility and trustworthiness by dressing neatly, formally, and conservatively, being organized with his or her notes, and avoiding anything that is too visually distracting.

In a moderately effective talk the speaker is not entirely successful in engaging with his or her audience through eye contact, and lacks confident gestures such as sitting up straight and appearing calm. He or she uses some of the following but not all: speaks slowly and audibly, varies his or her tone to highlight significant points, uses complete sentences, specific keywords, and repetition of key points. His or her talk is organized with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. All the arguments may not be clearly explained. The speaker includes, but may not build up to the environmental health argument as the most significant point of the talk. The speaker is working at achieving an air of responsibility and trustworthiness by doing some but not all of the following: dressing neatly, formally, and conservatively, being organized with his or her notes, and avoiding anything that is too visually distracting.

In a poorly delivered talk the speaker does not engage with the audience
or uses very little eye contact and lacks confident gestures. He or she is visibly shaking or alienates the audience by appearing haughty and/or arrogant. He or she speaks too quickly and/or inaudibly, does not vary his or her tone to highlight significant points, does not use complete sentences, specific keywords, and/or repetition of key points. His or her talk is not organized-lacking a recognizable introduction, body, and/or conclusion. Few or none of the arguments are clearly explained. The speaker does not adequately build up to the environmental health argument as the most significant point of the talk. The speaker fails to exude an air of responsibility and trustworthiness by not dressing neatly, formally, and conservatively, or not being organized with his or her notes, and/or not avoiding anything that is too visually distracting.

Closure
Save the final version of the rubric created by your class, making copies for each student to use as they prepares their oral presentation of his or her position paper for the mock Congressional hearing in the Apply Lesson.

Homework
None.

Embedded Assessment
Student learning in this lesson may be assessed by the quality and frequency of contributions to the class discussions, how well the students pay attention to the speakers being rated, and how much they contribute to the rubric created by their small group.


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694


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Last update: November 10, 2009
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