The First Speech

How did students do on their first speech? The short of it is:  I’m pleased.  The vast majority of the students did their speeches on time and they were just as good, if not better, as previous semesters.  Actually, they seemed better but I don’t really have a clear way to measure that.  I certainly enjoyed their speeches more and the atmosphere was definitely less stressful.  I believe two reasons for that.

The first was the way they were getting credit for the speech.  Credit/No Credit seems to be a less anxious-producing system.  As I’ve said, they only have to hit eight conditions and of those eight only three are part of the presentation, in order to get credit for the speech.  It seems that most of them believe they can do it and, indeed, did it.

The second reason (I think) for the more relaxed atmosphere is because I’m less stressed.  Yes, back to me.  We don’t have the time crunch we usually do because there aren’t three required f2f speeches, only two.  So I don’t have to be stressed out if someone misses their day; I know we have time for them to do it later.  Even better, I don’t have to punish them for missing their day;  they just do it late.  Kind of like life.  I mean I took an entire grade off if they didn’t do their speech on the assigned day.  That was always horrible.

However, I do have a couple of students who are extremely late in getting their speeches done, for different reasons.  One guy was in Jamaica for two weeks (lucky him).  Another student just didn’t track that she had to hand in an outline prior to giving the speech (no good reason for that).  So the consequences for their lateness is they don’t get the same written feedback everyone else does.  I only bring my computer for speech days (which I use to immediately send students feedback on their presentations, not the outlines), same for the pile of peer feedback sheets.  It’s too heavy to shlep all of that everyday and, frankly, I forgot about the stragglers so I wasn’t ready.  But I don’t really like this fall-out from doing a speech super late.  I want everyone to learn, which means they should all get timely and substantive feedback.  So I might have to start bringing my computer more.  (Keep in mind I have a 90 minute commute so that’s no joke.)

Regarding their outlines:  almost everyone has to re-write their outlines, mostly for lack of writing in sentences, lack of writing in outline format, or lack of source citations.  I mean 90% of the students need to re-write.  I’m not sure if that’s good news or bad news, but I know that they are doing the re-writes because otherwise they won’t get credit for the speech.  In previous semesters, only the most motivated students re-wrote their outlines for more points.  The rest just settled for a C or whatever.  So I consider this a positive consequence of the credit/no credit system.

There is one strange thing that is happening which is there aren’t a whole lot of completed assignments yet.  I’m still waiting for re-writes and for the reflection papers on their optional assignments.  I will be doing power-appointments with them in early November during class where I call them up one at a time and ask them to check my records.  That will also give me the chance to prod them along.


25 thoughts on “The First Speech

  1. I felt that the outline was just a breief explanation on what our speech was going to be about, since the written paper is what has most of the information.
    I was one of the 90% and will make sure for my second speech I do not make that mistake again. Overall the outline is a great way to organize the speech over all, I was able to bring all main points through so that’s a plus for me!

  2. the fisr speech in terms of the outline was pretty simple i would say. the difficulty came in the delivery, going middle of the hump helped to ease my worries but it couldn’t change the feeling of being up there. Speaking of which was horrifying, the topic was of my own choice but despite my ability to speak in general i do not posses comfortably for standing up and speak out to others. i think my voice is better for something like a radio booth not as a public speaker.

    1. With the first speech I did pretty good it was honestly just nerves being in front speaking to everyone. But you gain credit just by eye contact and how your standing. That isn’t the overall credit but it’s simple things you can do to get credit. For the second speech I will definitely do a lot better. I just need to work on making sure it doesn’t pass 5 mins and staring at everyone while I speak.

  3. To me, since it was my first speech I was a bit confused on how to outline it. I did not cite the sources neither did I write in full sentences. When it came to the delivery in front of the class I was nervous and the most part I looked at the professor instead of the audience. Overall I didn’t feel as if I did a great job on the first speech even though looking back now it was not complicated. I plan on paying more attention to how to outline my speech better in the future especially citing sources and looking at the audience when giving a speech because that is the most important part.

  4. Yes I could not agree more, I felt the outline was very helpful and specific on what our speech should look like. As well as the information we had to have in our speeches in order to get our full credit. It was also very easy for me to write my second speech in order to make sure I understood what I was going to write down. I LOVE THIS!! It was very helpful.

  5. The outline was very helpful, it really helped me keep the speech organized. I think the first speech wasn’t that bad when it comes to being nervous. One of the biggest reasons is because we weren’t getting graded on it, we were just getting feedback which i think was a very great thing. That way i learned from the first speech and did better on my other speech. I sure focused on what i was doing right or wrong, not on what grade im going to get on this speech.

  6. the first speech to me wasn’t so hard if you followed the outline , the hard part came in actually speaking infront of people you kind of just met , i mean the first time it was so uncomfortable and nerve racking , you worried about not being up there for the time you have to and also worried about not slurring your words and stuff like that

  7. I found the first speech to be the most difficult, only because I was not accustomed to speaking in front of people. I tried my best to keep my cool and stay focused. I found Professor Glaser’s lecture about how to handle pre-speech anxiety helpful and took her breathing techniques into good use. She mentioned to another student one day, “What is the worst that can happen when you are up there?” and it stuck with me. At the end of the day, we’re all supporting each other and no one is judging, and if they are well, whatever! My speech was about “How to Spot a Liar” and I found the outline to helpful in organizing my thoughts.

  8. The first speech probably will be my best because of the amazing outline that was included with it. It made it very straight forward and I was pleased with the results of it. This form of teaching should be circling worldwide by now.

  9. I really nervous to take a speech class. I knew the grading was hard but this made me less stressed and more relaxed to do my speech. Knowing that it was not hardly graded made me do way better on my speech.

  10. This was an awesome read, often enough I wonder how educators felt on a day to day when receiving or reflecting on their students performance and how they themselves can make the curriculum undemanding on both parties. I think removing the numerical or alphabetical grading system on presentations was genius! if I have to be real honest once I realized that it was either a pass or fail, knowing that if I did what I was taught, I would pass. Any anxiety I was feeling prior to knowing that dissipated so great judgement call on that, believe me we , your students appreciated that.

  11. I agree with you that the credit/no credit system really helps students from being less anxious. I’m usually really scared when turning in assignments because even when I tried really hard on a assignment, I wonder if my grade will reflect that! This takes away lots of my nerves. The outline is very helpful and returning the outline helps students see their mistakes, so there is room for improvement.

  12. I kind a like the first speech because it was short and you are talking about something that you feel more comfortable with. however organizing the outline was a bit difficult but it is also become easy when you follow the essay format.

  13. It is definitely much more simpler to for both the students as well as yourself for the assignments to be Credit/No Credit as it gives us freedom to structure a speech the way we want to. Obviously, we needed an intro, conclusion, sources etc.. But other than that, we were able to organize the way our speech would be presented and creates diversity in how the presentations go.

  14. It’s true that first speech makes us so nervous because for most of us is the first time to speak in front of a lot of people, it’s also can be difficult because of the outline since is the first time some of us have to rewrite unite you get the required outline

  15. The first speech is definitely laid back. The timing is very short. Theres no pressure & no rush. You can take your time & talk about anything you want.

  16. My first speech was extremely nerve wrecking. I don’t think my speech was well executed. But my outline helped me to keep it organized. In terms of my outline it was pretty simple and straightforward.I did not find It hard to following the steps and complete it.I may have forgotten to cite my sources in the body but I was glad I had the opportunity to correct it and hand it in back to receive my full credit.On my next speech I will be better able to provide a perfect outline.

  17. The first speech was a real good ice breaker to the class. I feel like it was a simple, calm assignment that everyone was able to complete. I also liked the motivation my particular classmates gave each other because our professor since the start made it clear that we have to give each other positive feedback. The first speech outline was also a great tool that everyone should’ve taken into their advantage.

  18. The atmosphere in your room is oddly soothing. Many of us aren’t complete strangers with each other and that’s because of how you broke the ice on the first day. This definitely allowed us to feel more comfortable with presenting in front of people for our first assignment. The relief of not being judged or laughed at because of your speech skills is completely thrown out the window because all of us are somewhat comfortable with each other. Great work!

  19. Overall i feel like the first speech you gave us was self explanatory and easy. I say this because you told us to choose what we want to inform people on and you told us to how the outline should look like as well. You helped us out and made it easier for us and although some people may have done it later than others we all still did it eventually because like you said its a pass fail grade so i pretty should we all want to pass even if its not with the highest grade, a pass is still a pass.

  20. I really enjoyed the first speech. I thought it was fun to see what my classmates wanted to share with eachother. I think because the speech itself gave alot of freedom to work with it, that it was important for the outline to be done in a specific way. I think the outline also helps the student find a way to structure their speech if they become lost. Because I had to cite my source in the outline it become more natural for me to cite it during my speech

  21. I personally feel like the first speech is a perfect way to start off the semester mainly because you can learn from your feedback from the first speech which will make you progress with all the other speeches without causing any mistakes.

  22. For the first speech (informative) it was only 3 to 5 minutes and we had to hand the outline in prior. I had to rewrite it because of the lack of source citations in the body and lack of writing in sentences. I also had to do a 30 to 40 seconds speech because I only did 2:28 minutes.

  23. I agree with this post, sitting in your class and listening to peoples speeches is often relaxing. People choose topics that they like and come prepared to share with the rest. If the person is in your group you receive a paper with criteria and numbers to rate them on. I found this less pressuring, it wasn’t an obligation to write their defaults and give it them. You just simply had to rate each criteria, which was useful. You could put a 6 for a certain criteria, and this would show that their is room for progress not that they did bad or good. Knowing that not everyone is often comfortable with public speaking or communication, the concept of less requirements is helpful. This relieves us students and gives us higher confidence to present. For the outline, I think rewrites from most students is no issue. This way students learn the way you want it and may do it the correct way for the second outline. Having time adds to this positive and stress free atmosphere within the classroom.

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