Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Speech Boot Camp

Last week, we completed ‘Speech Boot Camp’, a public speaking course from the ‘Institute for Excellence in Writing’.  The course is presented as a set of DVDs and is purely a ‘plug in and go’ curriculum – very easy to implement.  The lessons learned can be applied not only to public speaking, but also to many different everyday activities.  I have to say, we enjoyed this course immensely, and I am incredibly proud of the effort my children put into the course, and the quality of their orations.

Speech Boot Camp consists of 4 x DVDs.  The teacher and student notes are printed out, and armed with a DVD player, a pencil, and table or music stand (we happened to own a lectern – but of course, this is not necessary),  you can began the course.  Originally, the DVDs were filmed over a 4-day period, and the students involved needed to write and present four separate speeches in that time.  However, the lesson plans break the course into 11 sessions (with an optional 12th session), which can be done over the course of 11 weeks, 11 days, or however you choose to implement it.  We opted to do 2 lessons per week, meaning that it would take us 6 weeks.  Students are required to give 4 talks during that time:  a self-introduction speech, a narrative speech, and expository (or descriptive) speech, and finally a persuasive speech.  The time of each speech varied from 3 minutes up to 7 minutes, and students are required to write a key word outline, much the same as if they were writing an essay, and then present the speech in the following lesson. 

As always with products from IEW, students are not just given topics and told to go away and prepare their talk.  Full instructions are given as to ‘how’ to go about the process, and as well, sample student speeches were presented on the DVD.  In this way, the students know exactly what is required of them.  They are given suggested topics, but the actual subject matter remains the student’s own choice, and we found that, even though there were only four of us completing the course, we came up with a wide variety of topics.  These included entertaining stories, cats vs dogs, digital cameras, and even ‘how to write a speech’.   Feedback forms are given out at the beginning of each presentation, and students are asked to provide comments and suggestions for each other.  This can become a little ‘dicey’, especially where siblings are involved, however, I found my children gave each other fair and honest comments, and offered praise and encouragement to each other. 

We learned much about speaking, preparing a speech, and standing before an audience, and we found the course to be fun and most educational. I think the worst moment we had in the entire course was when I began my descriptive speech with a joke, only to discover that by doing so, I sent myself into a giggling fit, and was almost unable to present the rest of my talk (Lesson learned – for me, it’s probably best not to use too much humour)!  During the final disc, Mr Pudewa introduced a singing teacher to speak about breathing, stance, and to give the students some exercises they could do to prepare themselves before speaking in front of an audience.  This was well timed in our case, for the following day marked the beginning of our Christmas Carol performances, and the hints and tips certainly did help!  And of course, they also helped as we presented our final oration to our little group.  I had hoped to video the favourite speech of each student as a final, lesson 12, however, my children disagreed, and so I need to be happy with just a photograph of each child.
All in all, we enjoyed the course very much.  Andrew Pudewa, as always, was most entertaining, often leaving us in stiches with laughter.  If there’s one person who knows how to engage an audience, it is he!  The programme was so easy to use, and at around 1 hour per lesson time, it allowed us to use the course, yet still have time to complete our other studies.  A quick read through of the teacher’s page was the only preparation time needed for the teacher – unless of course, you decide to join the class to present the speeches as well – in which case, you also need to find some time to write a speech before each lesson.  And I would encourage you to do so.  The lessons you learn about what to do, how to stand, how to speak, etc. will serve you well in any form of public speaking (or singing) that you need to do in the years to come.  This has certainly become on of my favourite IEW products, and without doubt, we will be using Speech Boot Camp again in the future.


1 comment:

Dee said...

This was an amazing review! Thank you so much!

Dee :)