Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Teaching-Story Tuesday: in which I assign impromptu speeches

My students are either really shy or really sleepy. 9:30 does not seem particularly early to me, but they saunter into class and do not look at or speak to anyone. When we have class discussions, the same dutiful few participate until I just call on individuals point-blank. I've always been an eager class participant myself, so it's just kind of agonizing to watch.

I can't help but wonder, then, how they will survive their speeches. Each student will have to go up to the front of the class, and talk, intelligently, for 5 whole minutes. Most of of them won't even talk, whether intelligently or not, amongst the class, for five whole seconds.

So I decided to warm them up by doing impromptu speeches today. I wrote down topics on little sheets of paper and had them pull one out of an empty Twinings box. Each student had to speak for 1-3 minutes.

I think of this as a nice way to break the ice, and just ease them into speaking at the front of the class solo. The topics are never terribly serious. I offer subjects such as "your favorite film," "tell us about your outfit," "if you had to eat one thing every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?" "your dream job," "your least favorite subject in high school," etc. They have an easier time talking about these things than the types of topics I prescribed last semester ("squash" "postcards" "time travel" "shoelaces").

Do y'all have any suggestions for possible impromptu speech topics that I could use the future?

[cardigan: JCrew, dress: thrifted, belt: thrifted, necklace: thrifted, tights: Sock Dreams, boots: gifted]

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