Queens-Satellite Academy High School


Submitted by: Peter C. Cherr


TITLE: Public Speaking


This English course is designed for the student who would like to acquire self-confidence and poise while developing formal oral communication skills. Emphasis will be concentrated on: the nature of fear and self-confidence, subject selection, formal speech preparation, organization of ideas, effective outlining, delivery of presentation, giving and receiving constructive criticism, effective listening, note- taking, and the application of the skills developed in this course to life outside of the classroom.

Each student shall be required to write and present a number of progressively longer and more difficult speeches. These include: reading aloud, self introductory speech, informative speech based on personal knowledge, informative speech based on research, a speech based on an interview, a demonstration speech, a persuasive speech, and impromptu speeches. In general, the student will be given a speech structure and will select a topic of his or her choice for the speech.

At the conclusion of each student's speech the class and the teacher will orally give constructive criticism as to what that student did well and what he or she could improve on.The teacher will also grade each student's speech, both the written version and the oral presentation. At the end of each speech unit each student will write an in-depth essay evaluating another student's speech. The requirements for these essays will expand as the speeches get progressively more difficult. These evaluations will be based on criteria selected for that particular speech by both the teacher and the students collaboratively when the speech is assigned. This criterion will be developed through written homework and class discussions. The criteria for each new speech shall build on and include the skills required for the previous speech.

Students will work on active listening skills as the course progresses. The work on focus and understanding, and what is required of a good audience. They will practice paraphrasing the speeches they hear and will learn how to select the key points of speeches presented to them. They will practice taking good notes on the speeches they hear. This information will at first be presented by the class as a whole at the end of hearing a speech, and later will be included in their essays evaluating speeches they have heard.

For informative speeches, students will find, select, and organize the best available data on topics that concern him or her. They will have to research in books, magazines, newspapers, CD Roms in school, at home, or at the library.

For the interterview speech, students will learn how to formulate a good question by working individually and in small groups to create questions to ask each other andthe teacher. Students will then conduct interviews of each other and the teacher. They will then have to either write a report of the information obtained or make a presentation to the class. Finally, students will select a person outside the class to interview on their own. They will take the information they gather and create speeches to be presented to the class.

For the demonstration speech, each student will show the class, step by step, how to do something simple. Examples of demonstration topics are: making a sandwich, changing a baby's diaper, performing CPR.

For the persuasive speech, the student will prove a point and explain an idea through effective use of supporting material.

By the end of the courses students should be able identify and avoid causes of communication failure. The students should be able to employ techniques of listening to and interpreting oral massages will enable them to overcome some communication barriers. They should be able to find, select, and organize information on topics that concern them.The students should be able to list the weaknesses and strengths in the way that other speakers present a point or explain an idea.

Excerpts and activities from the book Speaking By Doing (National Textbook Company, l979) are used to explore the natures of fear and self-confidence. Alignment to Standards: This course corresponds to the following NY city and state English Language Arts standards:

  • Students prepare and deliver individual oral presentations - E3c

  • Students listen to and analyze public speaking performances -E3e

  • Students appropriately participate (listening and responding) in group meetings to solicit and share ideas re: writing, deliveringand critiquing public speeches - E3b