Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Critiquing A Speech

I need some advice. As I start my semester tomorrow I also tell my students that even though I teach a public speaking class, they will have a final. I also tell them that the final will consist of multiple choice questions as well as an essay. In addition, I even tell my students what the essay question is.

I tell my students I want them to take a speech they heard during the course of the semester (not one they gave and not one of my lectures) and I want them to critique it using all concepts we have talked about in class as well as those outlined in the book. The more they give them, the better. They can use a speech we heard in class or any speech they have heard, even if I was not there and did not hear it. (I do not tell them this but they can even make up a speech if they want as I am more interested in having them explain the concepts).

Last semester, one of my students, a member of the local Jaycees (and an officer) asked me to be a guest speaker at one of their meetings. She then critiqued the speech I gave on the final exam. I found it very difficult to grade a student critiquing one of my speeches (although I did find it quite humorous and flattering).

I like the students to have the freedom to critique a speech they like, one with which they feel comfortable critiquing. So the question is, should I set up further limitations and tell them they cannot critique a speech of mine (should they hear one), or should I just admire the creativity and “suck-up” ability of students if they are smart enough to come up with this idea? What do you think? I am interested in reading your responses.