Public speaking is an important life skill that can be taught. Not many people enjoy speaking in front of others, in fact, it’s the most common phobia. Let’s help our teens feel more comfortable and confident with the help of the Introduction to Public Speaking (IPS) course by the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). Find out how my teens have been doing.
This post may contain affiliate links through which I may receive a small commission.
Public Speaking for Teens and Beyond
One of my huge pet peeves is the atrocious manner of public speaking that many politicians have, particularly in our area of the world. They stutter and use ‘ums’ and ‘ers’ with such frequency that it can be difficult to comprehend what they are trying to say and it takes 2-3 times longer than it should. It doesn’t show them in a confident light.
Public speaking isn’t just for politicians, it’s important for everyone who may interact with others, such as:
- Classroom presentations
- Job interviews
- Work meetings
- Any public-facing role, including customer service, sales, amongst many others.
How IPS Works
To get students started, IPS begins with some memorisation assignments. Mr. Pudawa teaches 3 techniques to help with this. Students also learn about the 5 Canons of Rhetoric in the first lesson:
Each lesson builds upon the previous one, starting with memorisation and moving on to writing essays and using a keyword outline (KWO) to refer to when giving your presentation. As the course moves on, different types of speaches are given attention and the length of the speeches increase up to 10 minutes. The course is topped off with a five minute impromptu speach.
What We Recieved
IEW kindly provided us with a Teacher’s Manual, binder, a Student’s Manual, as well a a Portable Walls for the Public Speaker, and of course, video streaming.
Streaming Video Course
The main part of the IPS class is done in video form, with Mr. Pudawa himself as the teacher. It’s nice to have someone who knows the topic well to be our subject teacher. There is a video to go with each week of the course.
There is a 3-ring binder that comes with pre-marked tabs for students so they can keep their work organised – this is something that I’m happy that is emphasised in IEW courses….although one of my children still needs some encouragement in this area.
There is also a packet which contains all of the information needed in addition to the videos. Class notes, outline templates, and critique forms are all included.
There are also a number of additional downloads that may be accessed through links provided in the Student Manual:
- Speech Templates
- Extra critique pages
- MP3s of the poetry used in the class
- Examples of expository, persuasive and impromptu speeches.
The IPS Teacher’s Manual includes everything that is in the Student’s Manual, as well as additional explanations, such as video summaries and extra pointers to help guide students through the course.
How We Used this Pubic Speaking for Teens Course
We used the 4-day schedule, which is the standard for IEW courses, and which works best for us, although it could very easily be split over 5 days by watching only half of the weekly video on the first 2 days instead of the whole video in one day, as many of them are over an hour, and longer by the time the off-screen tasks are also attended to.
An example of what students can expect on a typical week is:
Monday: The children stream the weekly video, write any pertinent vocabulary in their books. Watch speeches, critique them, and compare their responses to the ones provided. Give their own speech and receive feedback on it. Decide on the topic for their next speech.
Tuesday: Begin writing this week’s speech.
Wednesday: Continue working on the speech, refine it, and work on the timing of it by reading it aloud to practice.
Thursday: Continue to practice the speech using the keyword outline and work on poise, contact, and locution. Recording their speeches to see how they can improve before Monday’s ‘live’ speech. Unfortunately, my teens did not want to share their recordings for this blog post.
What We Think of Introduction to Public Speaking
Although my children may not always be keen to learn this subject, they have heard me comment multiple times in the past about the importance of public speaking for teens and beyond and are aware that there are several benefits that range from becoming a better listener to career advancement and persuation (this might be the skill they want to use on me).
As I mentioned above, using politicians as an example, effective public speaking is an essential life skill for understandable communication, and not only when you are trying to persuade someone. Presenting yourself as knowledgeable and confident (even if you aren’t), will make you look and sound professional as well as help you to progress further in life.
Often people are unaware of what they do when they speak, such as fidget, play with their hair, sway, and stutter. Having others kindly critique them allows for self-awareness, which is a powerful tool. By becoming aware of these ‘distractions’ teens can work on eliminating them and have their message be the focus.
Tristan has worked his way through SSS1B, as well as Canadian History-Based Writing Lessons, and using IPS following one of these classes works very well as the same structure is used for writing essays and speeches, and he’s able to take what he has learned and apply his knowledge to this course. This helps to build a solid foundation for future writing and speaking
Connect with IEW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | Instagram