• Course Description:

    Public Speaking is a one semester course for seniors. The study of public speaking allows students to hone their oral language skills, thus empowering them to be effective communicators in college and the workplace. Equally important is the development of their critical and analytical abilities to assess rhetoric intended to shape their emotional response to and understanding of the world. In the Public Speaking course, students will analyze and evaluate speeches delivered in a variety of time periods and contexts by figures such as Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth, Anna Quinlan and Steve Jobs, as well as write, prepare, deliver and evaluate three types of speeches: informative, persuasive, and special occasion. 

    The course begins with an introduction to the terms and concepts of rhetoric as well as a discussion of ethics in public speaking. Having gained an understanding of these terms and concepts, students are required to write rhetorical analyses of speeches by popular figures. Next, students will learn about delivery techniques and study the effective use of presentation aids. They will then practice using eye contact, volume, and gestures to effectively deliver their own formal speeches. Students will practice getting comfortable in front of an audience and improvising with impromptu speeches. For at least half of the semester, students will write and deliver their own formal speeches. They will generate their own topics, write several drafts, practice, and finally deliver polished speeches for an audience. When appropriate, speeches will include the use of research and visual tools. The number of speeches delivered by students will depend on the number of students in the class. 

    This course aims to:

    • Analyze - in discussion or in formal essay writing, either timed or processed - the relationships between the purpose of a speech and the content, structure, and use of rhetorical strategies such as structure, diction, syntax, and figurative language;
    • Analyze - in discussion or in formal essay writing, either timed or processed - how context influences content by examining speeches of historic significance; 
    • Analyze - in discussion or in formal essay writing, either timed or processed - speeches using the rhetorical triangle, i.e., analyze the relationships between the speaker, subject, and audience; 
    • Analyze - in discussion or in formal essay writing, either timed or processed - a speaker’s use of ethos, logos, and pathos; 
    • Develop an awareness of the ethical responsibilities of the speaker and ability to recognize misuses of logic; 
    • Draft, revise, and deliver an informational speech, a persuasive speech, and deliver a special occasion speech on a self-selected topic; 
    • Responsibly - with proper citation and avoiding plagiarism - integrate credible researched information into a speech; 
    • Address multiple points of view in a speech; 
    • Adapt content and language of written and spoken texts to a variety of purposes, audiences (friendly, neutral, and hostile), and occasions; 
    • Use PowerPoint and/or other visual sources to convey or support an idea; 
    • Use listening and viewing strategies to identify the intent of presentation, critically assess the message and increase listening and viewing sophistication; 
    • Provide critical, constructive feedback as a listener and audience member. 


    Course Overview:

    Unit 1: Introduction to Rhetoric and Public Speaking Ethics

    Unit 2: Introduction to Rhetorical Analysis

    Unit 3: Delivery Strategies (Verbal and Nonverbal) and Visual Aids

    Unit 4: Informational Speeches: Preparation and Delivery

    Unit 5: Persuasive Speeches: Preparation and Delivery

    Unit 6: Tribute Speeches & Special Occasion Speeches: Preparation and

       Delivery (Final Exam)