•Michael J: First speech: “I was sweating and shaking. I was nervous to get in front of the class. I felt a little better but I was still nervous. When I finished my talk my classmates clapped for me and said I did a good job. I also felt better because they were quiet and they listened to my talk.”
•Vera M: “Public Speaking is the best class I have ever taken. I saw the change in people like C and S who were never outspoken and the change in them is incredible. I learned more about my image.”
•Diane S: “This class has made a big difference in my life. Before Effective Speaking I was a lot shyer than I am now, a couple of months later. The first time I went to make a talk, I was scared to death. I was worried about what the rest of the class would think. Now I feel so comfortable talking in front of people. I actually have a lot more fun giving the talks now that I have overcome my fear.”
•James K: “The way of complimenting and giving positive remarks rather than criticizing has helped make it [speaking] more comfortable and [I am] more willing to do a better speech the next time.”
•Sean O: “This class is important because before I took this class I used to shake and stutter when I got in front of the class. Now people compliment my speaking skills.”
•Kimberly P: “I was totally intimidated by all the seniors and thought I wasn’t able to continue to take that class. But, as time went by, and with the help of the class . . . I was able to overcome the fear I had of speaking in front of the class. By the end of the semester I was able to stand up in front of the class in a confident manner and express myself.
Effective Speaking has changed me in many ways. I am now able to raise my hand in class and not get nervous or turn red, because I have found my level of comfort. I truly believe that it was Effective Speaking which changed me. I am glad that I close to stay in the class. Many of the students showed drastic changes in the way that they speak. Everyone in the class has the ability to control an audience. Most of the students in the class speak well, most students will find that they can, in fact, go into a profession where there is speaking involved.
•Paul I: “This was a class that I enjoyed very much, and at the same time learned even more. This class helped me with one of my biggest weaknesses and made me stronger in it than I ever thought I could be. I loved going to this class to see what I was going to learn that day. Plus, on top of everything else I believe that this class gave me a lot of self-confidence in myself that I never knew existed before.
•Stephen K: “This class, hands down, has boosted my confidence. I especially like that all the comments were positive and no negativity at all was used. In this class I felt more in charge than others but yet still being the student.”
•Kevin G: “All of us made blunders but it was worth it. This class does not just work while speaking to a whole bunch of people. It also helps you one on one.
The second benefit of public speaking was learning how to be yourself to get through to people. Each talk showed a different side of our personality. That just let me be myself.”
Jason K: “The best part about Effective Speaking is pointing out the positives in a person’s talk. [The teacher] lets you know all talents you have and makes you feel more confident about these talents.”
•Lauren K: “It [Effective Speaking] made us see that it is possible to pick out something positive in everyone. It also helped us to point out the pluses in ourselves before putting ourselves down.”
•Sheana H: “Because of positive feedback, students don’t fear criticisms. Everyone builds each other’s self esteem by keeping an optimistic atmosphere and giving support. This is very important in reaching our full potential.”
•Carlos F: “I got a lot out of Effective Speaking. When I first started the course, I was shy and didn’t open up to people I didn’t trust. I also had stage fright. I was always worried about what people were thinking about me, whether it be my voice, which was always made fun of in grammar school, or my clothes, which I always tried to make perfect. I learned to change all those things that I hated and enjoyed meeting and learning about new people while in this course.
My first speech was rather terrible. I mumbled and didn’t speak very loud. I moved my feet and played with my arms and sleeves. I was glad for the positive feedback I got because it made me realize that I didn’t do as bad as I thought and I needed to do work on a few things and I changed those habits.”
•Sergio S: “. . . public speaking is more than an academic class, but a bonding class where people learn about one another by communicating.”
•Jessica L: “Effective Speaking has helped me most with my people skills and conversational skills. I now listen better to what people say and do when they speak.
•Cherod H: “I got a lot out of Effective Speaking because I never knew how much I could affect so many people just by my preparation and the way I presented my stories. The thing I enjoyed the most is the positive feedback that I got from my fellow classmates.
Because of the positive responses [the teacher] made the class comment on about each individual, the audience could see a complete metamorphosis in some students--students who were shy and did not have the comfort level that they had at the end of the year.”
•Alberto G: “The reason I feel that this class is so effective to its students is because it makes you listen to someone who maybe you have never spoken to before. It [the talks] will show sides of people that you probably think were never there. It also brings students closer together; it gives a quiet person the spotlight for just 2 minutes and it also gives the normally loud 2 minutes to be serious as C. C. showed with his talk on his father. Just by that one talk I learned a lot about all the people in the class. No one said one word or laughed once because everyone knew it was time to be serious. To see that side of someone whom I thought would never be like that in front of a class, to see how he felt good after his talk, to get some of that off his chest, to feel better about one’s self was worth taking this class.”
•Andrew M: “. . . the best thing I got out of this class were the friendships and connections I made. It wasn’t so much at all what I learned in this class this year, but who I learned about and I guess in a small way that I may have been able to do for them.”
•Andrea A: “Effective Speaking is more than a class to learn how to speak; it’s a class to learn to get out of your comfort zone and let people know the real you.”
•Diane S: “Effective Speaking brought all of us closer as a class. Just by getting up and sharing personal stories, we saw a different side to each person.”
•Laura P: “This class is very genuine because we the class have come together and bonded through sharing and listening to the speeches that we told. I enjoyed listening to the points and morals of some of the talks, which were very important for life’s everyday lessons such as self-esteem, treating others with respect, and the deaths of loved ones. I gained the feeling that we have come together and bonded with each other all because of this class. Now, because of this class, I am comfortable with speaking in front of a large audience. Therefore, I’m very glad to have taken this class and I can contend that the title of this class is very fitting.
•Carlos F: “This class helped me open up a lot. I became a lot more comfortable with who I am. When I talked about my parent’s divorce and then seeing the support of my class, their listening and their applause made me feel a whole lot better about my speech, my situation, and myself.
I also learned not to judge people. Prior to this class, I thought DB, KG, and JR were all snobs, jock jerks, and conceited know-it-alls respectively. I found out they weren’t and that they are probably some of the nicest people I go to school with. . . . through this class I learned not to think bad things about everyone else.
Last December I went to Northeastern University for an interview and the interviewer asked which is your favorite class. Even though I get A’s in history and English, I said that Effective Speaking was. It helped me open my shell and discover that showing people the real true me is a good thing and they will always like and respect it.”
•Alessandra M: “The final and probably most important skill that I learned in class was to only look for the positive in people. Because we were instructed to write down only positive things on our evaluation cards, picking out the good in people instead of bad has become second nature to me. This skill not only makes other people feel better but it also reflects itself on my own disposition. When a person learns to see the positive in other people it brings a much more peaceful, optimistic outlook to the rest of the world around them.”
•Judy G: “In the beginning I felt I was probably nervous because I did not know how everyone would react to my talks. Just the thought of having to go up and look at everyone made me nervous but once I heard the class’s comments I gradually started to relax. The class support definitely made the class less pressuring.”
•Demetric G: “...it helps me become stronger as a person by hearing all the positive things being said about me. ...helped me grow out of my shyness.”
•Colleen M: “Upon finishing [my talk] I was pleasantly surprised and relieved that no one laughed, they just applauded. I faced my fear, got the courage to speak and I felt success for the first I spoke in front of a group. From that day forward I was able to face the crowd and speak.”
•Damaris H: “Taking this course has not only helped cure my nervousness and bring about unforgettable experiences, but it has also helped me to be a better person.”
You really get to know people and what they are about. That is the definite value and it makes the class all that more special.”
•Kim W: “Just a few months ago, I would have shuddered at the thought of having to speak before an audience. I knew once I was up in front of the room, my stomach would be in a knot, my hands would be clammy, and my heart would be pounding out of my chest. I would be trembling all over, and my voice would convey my nervousness.
However, now if I need to speak before an audience, I’m not overwhelmed by the sense of dread I had once felt before. The Effective Speaking class helped me to overcome my fear of public speaking. Although I might still feel a little nervous at times, I now know how to calm myself down by using breathing or other techniques, and I know how to appear comfortable and confident in front of an audience even if I feel it not. Also, stepping outside of my comfort zone helped me to see different ways to capture an audience’s attention.”
•Carlo E: “The spontaneous impromptus help me to get my mind flowing a bit quicker than usual.”
•Amy K: “I learned so much. I learned about body gestures, different techniques to grab the audience’s attention, ways to remember talks, and more importantly that I had what it takes to be a teacher.”
•Nicole W: “I saw how it greatly affected my fellow classmates. In one semester I saw people transform from shy and intimidated to dynamite speakers. I did not just learn speaking techniques but the strength of the human spirit.”
•Brian M: “I used my new ability to be comfortable in front of a group to give a speech and in a presentation I gave in one of my classes. Being able to enunciate my words enabled me to seem more profession in college and job interviews. I use the relaxing techniques to calm myself down before wrestling matches. They help me focus and to perform a lot better. I don’t know where I would be without this course.”
•Alessandra M: “This course has done much more for me than I ever expected. It has not just made me a better speaker, but it has made me a better person overall. I now feel more confident in my skills to relate to other people on a daily basis. I would recommend this class to everyone because the lessons they will learn they will carry with them throughout their lives. I never would have thought that I would get this much from a class when I could talk a lot and there was no final exam.”
•Kim W: “Not only have I benefited from this course when it comes to formal speeches, but it has helped me in my everyday life as well. I’m more aware of the way I come across to people I meet for the first time, such as an older relative I’ve never met before, and I’m much more confident in interviews, both for jobs and colleges.
Effective Speaking has helped me to be more aware of the way I present myself, so I appear to be calm, confident, professional, and responsible. Because, after all, first impressions are everything.”
•Sergio S: “Richard Nixon once wrote in one of his many books, In the Arena, that, “the written word, no matter how elegant, is different from the spoken word. It is often too sterile and lacks rhythm and punch that a speech needs. That can be corrected to an extent if the speaker works the language through aloud.” (Nixon 243). The former President was an astute politician and known for his successfulness in public speaking. He encouraged all to work on their speaking ability for success throughout their life and as the quote states, public speaking must be practiced and worked on. I realized this and decided that maybe I should take the class, and it has been one of the greatest experiences of my high school career.
It is not a class using huge textbooks or a calculator, but it is a class that gets results, which will help us in life, not only in high school. I mean with sincerity that public speaking has opened me up to others, and I will definitely seek to take some type of speaking course in college.”
•Michael D: “I did not know what to expect when I walked into my first day of Effective Speaking. Even though I chose this class as part of my schedule, I felt really nervous about it. I pictured myself standing in front of the class, red in the face and shaking life a leaf. I was worried that I would not know what to say or forget my words and look like an idiot. But as I watched my classmates do their talks, and then doing my talk, I felt like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was excited to go to class and listen to the interesting talks that my classmates did, and I became less and less nervous after every talk I made.”
•Casey R: “Well once I got into the class I loved every minute of it. I loved getting up in front of the class because they are such great people that they are in no way rude or disrespectful and they help you feel more comfortable up there. Whenever you ask a question they respond with enthusiasm just to help you along in any way they can.”
•Joey L: “Of all the courses that I have taken so far at [school] I definitely believe that Effective Speaking has been the best, “funnest,” and most helpful one. I love the fact that the class is based on all positives. It is really wonderful to hear about the good things you did and how great your talk was. Hearing the positives boosts the confidence of the speaker and helps them become more relaxed.”
•Adam L: “Effective Speaking is one of the best courses/decisions I have ever made.”
•Monique D: “You have taught me that no matter how great you are, you can always become better. I also learned that you have to find what’s special within you and then others will love you for who you are.
I have come to realize that if I have just an ounce of confidence you can move mountains. Effective Speaking should be a required course because it opens up your heart to what the world has to offer.”
•Jen O: “This class by far was my favorite class and one of the most helpful for my future.”
•Erica T: “Who would have thought that I would have come out of my shell in front of a room the way I did. This class also helped me see a whole other side of people that I would normally just walk by and not even give a thought about. This was a real personal class to the fact that some of my classmates opened up to all of us and shared personal experiences. I learned how not to show the fact that I am nervous because if I do I would be eaten alive in a positive way.”
•Chris C: “...I don’t want to leave the class at all.”
•Pat G: “Effective Speaking is hands down the class that has had the most impact on me throughout high school. I could go on about how well my ability to speak has improved and how effective speaking is so important. Everybody already knows how important it is and how the class helps students become more comfortable speaking in public. I would speak of something I noticed about how the class affected some of the kids I know.
What I saw was the changes in people’s personalities. Shy people who would barely speak loud enough for you to hear them were screaming in your face at the end of the course. Some of the most impersonal people were able to share some truly personal stories with the class. Also one of the most “unoutgoing” person in our class has changed completely. The way I see it is she changed from the things that went on in the class. She was forced to get up in front of class and talk to everyone. So this class may not be the most challenging or have the most work, but I feel that it’s had the most impact on me and many of the other students.”
•Steve H: “The class is not public speaking; it’s effective speaking. This class affected my life sufficiently. I am no longer afraid of speaking in public. My goal is to become an officer in the United States Marine Corp. Because of the course, I have more confidence now than I had before.”
•AJ J: “Effective Speaking to me is one of the most important classes in our school.”
•Jill P: “I think every student should have to take the class because it teaches you how to speak in front of a room and actually feel comfortable. It teaches you to be prepared and how to relate to the audience. It teaches you how to stand, speak, move, etc.”
•Adam K: “What does one learn in 12+ years of education? Ideally, one learns how to add, subtract, read, write, and other tidbits pertaining to science, history, etc. Something is missing. There is something that we take part in everyday of our lives, yet 12+ years of education refuses to recognize it. Of course, I am referring to the art of speaking. The spoken word is indeed one of the most beautiful artistic talents in this world. With words we can cause others to shed a tear of sadness, crack a smile of hope, or conduct themselves in whichever manner they choose to feel after hearing our words float out of our mouths.
What I am trying to get at here, is that while math may play a part in 40% of the actions in our lives, talking is involved in 90% of the actions found in our day. Whether we are giving a speech, speaking with a friend, or even talking to ourselves, it is still there. It almost seems insane to not to help mold something as important as the spoken word, which plays such a huge role in our lives, during our years of schooling. By this you are obviously avoiding a sect of children that excel in the spoken word, which in turn does not allow their talents to grow.
I know this, because I was one of those children. The reason I “was” one of them is because I happened to take the class known as Effective Speaking. This class gave me ideas and led me in the right direction on how to channel my abilities. The many little “knick-knacks” that I have learned in that class proved their worth rather quickly.
I had to deliver a speech in front of a semi-large audience of perhaps 50 people or so. I went in with some butterflies in my stomach, but surprisingly calm. I delivered perhaps the best speech of my life, not that I would think so, but the compliments I received convinced me that this class is the reason for my success. Without it I would have gone in totally ignorant to the audience’s needs. That night was perhaps my proudest moment, for not only was I given the honor to speak, but also proved that the faith they put in me was not a mistake on their part. I have Effective Speaking and [the teacher] to thank for my proud moment “in the sun."