Public Speaking for the American University Experience

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

This course is designed specifically for English Language Learners interested in further developing their English skills in a challenging college-level academic setting.

Public Speaking in the American University Experience is a highly interactive course which prepares pre-college students to best present themselves. By developing skills in argumentation, interviewing, and formal multimedia presentations, students strengthen their understanding of and confidence in the rigorous oral communication demands of university-level classroom participation. Because participating in the American university classroom requires more than just being present; students will engage in close analysis of cultural communicative practices to develop public speaking skills across a variety of genres, including evidence-based oral argumentation, interviewing, elevator pitches, and formal multimedia presentations. In addition to numerous presentation exercises, students will learn to give and receive critical feedback regarding persuasive communication techniques.

Does the thought of public speaking make you sweat? Do you enjoy giving a speech but want to sharpen your argumentation skills? Have you noticed “participation” is often a feature of American university syllabi? This course is uniquely designed to foster public speaking confidence for active classroom engagement.

Public Speaking in the American University Experience prepares pre-college students for the rigorous communicative demands of university-level classroom participation. Through analysis of American rhetorical style, students will sharpen public speaking skills across a variety of genres, including evidence-based oral argumentation, interviewing, elevator pitches, and formal multimedia presentations. Students will consider audience engagement through intonation, pitch, gesticulation, and the dramatic arc of powerful storytelling while also learning to give and receive critical feedback through peer and individual coaching.

To foster an understanding of the subtle communicative nuances pragmatically appropriate to American classrooms, students will engage in numerous and varied presentation exercises, which make use of interactive community interviews on campus, multimedia experiences, and close readings of current events as topical source material. Analysis of great speakers as well as critical self-reflection will further support development of persuasive communication techniques. The course culminates in a final multimedia presentation in student-selected topics.

The course instructor has over 20 years experience working with English Language learners and international students at the university level. As the former Director of English Language Learning at Brown University, she has helped numerous students make a smooth transition into college classroom dynamics.

During this course, students will:
- Develop awareness of oral rhetorical styles common to the American University classroom
- Develop an understanding of individual personal style, persuasive argumentation, and generating and maintaining audience interest
- Hone their ability to read critically and to convey evidence-based opinions in oral discussion
- Practice the craft of public speaking in a variety of genres, including interviewing, debating, making an elevator pitch, and formal multimedia presentations
- Workshop and constructively critique their own and their classmates oral presentations

Prerequisites: All pre-college students who are interested in improving their public speaking skills, particularly those looking to better understand communicative styles more common to the American classroom are encouraged to enroll. Intermediate to advanced fluency in English is required for participation.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEEL0923
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

[email protected] for English Language Learners

A select group of non-credit courses in the liberal arts and sciences supplemented with English language learning, two weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For University-bound English language learners completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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