Thursday, February 12, 2009

Authentic Public Speaking

I've seen many formal public speaking performances since I began teaching in the late 1980's, but in my experience, it has been relatively rare for a student's message to truly be made 'public'. The age of the read/write web makes it easy for any student (or any other person) to share thoughts, opinions and ideas via text, audio or video; and I wonder when the lure of a global audience, will overshadow the prospect of a performance for one's peers and teachers.

If you've seen children play hockey in an arena, then Miller Donnelly's rehearsal for distant relatives may strike very close to home. I think it's a wonderful example of how we can empower young people to bring important messages to light, and to transmit them on a grand scale.

Beyond YouTube, this video has been highlighted in web articles, on television and has even been played on the Jumbo-tron in Miller's home town of Sudbury. What would you have to do in order to garner such an audience?

Is public speaking still a staple in your school? What do you do to ensure such experiences are motivating and authentic?