We’re done speeches (insert student applause!) and I’m feeling a bit reflective about the whole process (putting myself in the student’s shoes and thinking about their learning). I was thinking to myself, “Well, that went pretty good…..” when I realized I should probably ask them about it instead of just assuming it did.
We met in a circle (post-speeches) and talked about what the unit was like for them. I started with reviewing what I had wanted to achieve through the unit (give them multiple opportunities to say a speech, use feedback from peers and myself to improve over time, developing skills and confidence as the weeks progressed). In response to me asking about their experience, here’s some of the things they shared.
- I think I did improve because a lot of the speeches I did before, I was always under the time. But this time I made it 3 minutes.
- Although it didn’t make me like speeches, it made me transition better to my “actual speech.
- I think I improved because last year I didn’t talk loud enough but this year I was loud enough.
- I feel like I didn’t talk as fast as last year.
- I think I improved because before in my Science Fair project I kept pacing back and forth, but this time I didn’t do it.
- I’ve always been a bad public speaker with too much stuttering, but this year with all the practice, I did good.
- I think I improved because my speech writing got better.
- Last year, I stuttered a lot but because my peers said nice things when we were practicing, I felt better when I was doing my speech.
I loved their reflection and am so proud of the confidence they’ve gained through the experience. They did a really great job with their speeches – I’m going to try and convince them to let me post the videos online (yeah right – that’ll never fly!).
To finish up, I reminded them that “No, you probably won’t have to do public speeches like this throughout your life. BUT, but you might need to talk to your boss about a raise or a safety issue, prepare a valedictorian speech, say a eulogy, propose to your potential life-partner, make a toast to the bride or groom, and wish a coworker all the best in a farewell speech! So, you’ll use the skills you’ve gained – even if the format is different.”
They nodded in agreement like they knew I was giving them sage advice. I think, though, that they just wanted to get to their math homework (which we did!).