Public Speaking: Getting Over Our Fear
This week in MYP English 2, Clemente’s sophomores began tackling something that makes everyone feel nervous: presenting in front of a crowd. Students heard their name called, took a deep breath, grabbed their note card, and walked up to the front of the class to face their peers. After concluding and sharing their resources in MLA citations, our proud Wildcats took a seat and smiled. It was over, and they did great!
Throughout this instructional unit, students read Junot Diaz’s Drown while considering his purpose for writing. Was he trying to connect to a specific audience, reveal specific parts of his personal identity, or did he have another purpose that we had not considered? While trying to answer these questions, students thought critically about how Diaz uses specific elements of style, such as language, tone, and character development, to reveal his purpose for writing. Before reading what some students called the best novel they’ve read so far, we had to find out who Junot Diaz is and what he’s up to. Over winter break, students researched Diaz. Once they started reading Drown, they couldn’t put it down. A few students, including honors student Elizanena Ibarra, went out and bought Diaz’s other novels This is How You Lose Her and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao immediately after we started Drown.
Needless to say, when it came to organize and compose presentations that analyzed his text, students were ready! Now, as we continue to present in class, students are tasked with analyzing their peers’ presentations just like they analyzed Drown: Are their presentations engaging and appealing for the targeted audience? How is the presenter using voice, body language, and multi-media to connect to their audience? Finally, how is the presenter truly proving Diaz’s purpose for writing?
Even with all these questions to consider, students had to gather their courage and present to their peers. If you’re wondering how they’re feeling, take a look at the featured images: all smiles and focus! Go Wildcats!