Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Monday, March 24, 2008


The art of speaking is never more apparent than in an election year. 2008 is no exception and in fact it may provide us with some of the more looked at speeches in an election year than ever before. English teachers are well aware of the power of speeches and using them in their class. From the monologues of Shakespeare to the political and religious speeches of Americans, English teachers are provided a whole gambit of speeches to use in the classroom. We have Shakespeare contests, we have debates, we have in school political speeches for school officers, we have interviews to prepare for. The oral tradition is still a mainstay of our curriculum. Even on the NYState Regents exam, we have a listening section.

In our classrooms we have a few computer tools we can use to enhance our teaching oral skills. We can use Powerpoint, GarageBand, Audacity, and several recording devices.

The way I am using Powerpoint is to have students make a simple presentation which serves as a table of contents about their work. The first slide introduces themselves. The next slides are slides which introduce each of their subject classes with very brief descriptions. These descriptions can be lists of words, phrases, clauses that provide a brief idea of what is to be expected. They serve as prompts for the scholar in the presentation to further elaborate in further oral discussion and description. They further serve as links to the work mentioned so the reader can click and see the work. During a presentation, audience members with computers can go and read for themselves or view later. This makes the process both synchronous and asynchronous and therefore makes assessment more authentic. Finally the whole presentation can be published on the web. With the advance of technology video and audio clips can be added as well for the asynchronous presentation. The possibilities are endless and assessment therefore more authentic and universal.

GarageBand, a Mac tool, is fabulous. This program allows the user to record, edit, and save as an executable program. This is an ideal program for podcasting. Scholars create a script from which to work, compose, and create. They can then edit the recording, enhance it with sound effects, and publish it. Audacity is another popular software package for the PC that functions like GarageBand. Scholars can use the built in microphone of the computer or use USB microphones of all degree of sophistication.

A third option in speechifying in our classes is the use of iPods or mp3 players that have recording, editing, and playback capability. These files can be uploaded to the computer and the internet for universal access. For links to more on speech in the English classroom, visit my syllaweb lesson.

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