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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Hillary, Yuck!"

One of my students recently commented on how I do not teach a public speaking class, I teach an English class with the added twist (dilemma) of having to deliver it orally in front of an audience. There is certainly some truth to this.

The fact is there are two areas in which a speech must be critiqued—Content AND Delivery. No one seems to object or disagree that delivery needs to be addressed in a Public Speaking class. Content is another story.

I recently had a student who delivered a speech on the importance of voting, or supposedly that was the message. The student also urged us not to vote for Hillary Clinton. I am okay, for a persuasive speech, to have a student to urge us to vote for or against a candidate. It does, however, need to be backed up with some supporting material.

In the speech, the student said, “Hillary, yuck!,” every time her name was mentioned. The student showed pictures of Hillary disfigured and pictures which made her look like the devil. The student did not mention anything about her platform, what she wants to do or has done or why people should not like her or trust her, just, “Hillary, Yuck!”

Sorry but this needs to be addressed in a critique. You cannot just make a claim like that without backing it up. The pictures, as far as I am concerned, go beyond what is considered ethical in a speech, at least in my book. Call that grading the speech as though this was an English class if you want, but the bottom line is, speeches need to be well developed and argued. They need to be based in logic, with emotion certainly playing a part. Yes, writing for the ear is different than writing for the eye but a lot of the same rules do apply.