IPS in the Classroom

Jul 27, 2023 | Posted by Heidi Thomas

A word of warning from Dr. Webster. “A bad idea well presented can be more effective than a good idea poorly presented. History proved this.” Presentation matters, and IEW can help! Introduction to Public Speaking (IPS) is a twelve-week course best suited for middle- and high-school students. It is packed with processes and practices that will help students build confidence and competence in public speaking.

In short, students write and deliver five types of speeches: self-introductory, narrative, expository, persuasive, and impromptu. The course begins with three pieces presented from memory since memory techniques are one emphasis of the course. In fact, eight of the twelve lessons include student presentations. IEW also offers a quick-reference guide that aids students as they plan, write, memorize, deliver, and evaluate speeches: Portable Walls for the Public Speaker.

For more details listen to “IEW’s New Introduction to Public Speaking (Podcast 374), where Andrew Pudewa and Julie Walker discuss other valuable skills for public speakers. IEW offers the first two weeks of the course in a digital format for free here.

While this course can be used in multiple settings, this blog focuses on how it can be used in a classroom environment. Every lesson begins with a Suggested Daily Practice schedule. The skills necessary for effective delivery of a speech require repetitive practice. Even if your class meets only one or two days a week, this repetitive practice is vital. Therefore, encourage students to follow the Suggested Daily Practice and check off each box found next to the assigned task.

Since frequent short daily assignments are more beneficial than a single large weekly assignment, teach your students how to follow the Suggested Daily Practice on the days they do not attend class. Keep in mind public speaking allows for the application of progressive skills. Andrew’s article “Process versus Product” reminds us to relish the process.

In a classroom that meets one or two days a week, the students and the teacher should watch the video in preparation for class. Each student and teacher needs the full Introduction to Public Speaking course. In class the teacher should review the concepts taught on the video, and the students should deliver and evaluate speeches.

In a classroom that meets three to five days a week, the teacher should show the video in class. With this option, the teacher needs the full Introduction to Public Speaking course, and each student needs the Introduction to Public Speaking Binder and Student Packet.

Depending on the length of your class, you may need to plan to watch the video in two parts because the videos range between 45 minutes and 1 hour 20 minutes.

This course may also be expanded to fit a semester that is longer than twelve weeks. Depending on how many students are in your class, reviewing the skills plus student recitations may take longer than a single week.

At any time, if you find your class needs additional activities, consider some of the following.

  • Recite short poems or a few lines of a longer poem to work on a specific skill or speaking element that is particularly weak.
  • Allow class time to prepare for a speech contest.
  • Practice student speeches.
  • Memorize famous speeches.
  • Watch a video of someone delivering a speech to identify skills taught in the course.

Although the focus of this course is on delivery of memorized poems and speeches, grades should never be based solely on presentation. Improvement and growth over the course of the semester should be taken into consideration.

Eight lessons include critique evaluation forms, but overall grades should include all work completed by students, including the class preparation, key word outlines, rough drafts, speech delivery, and peer evaluations. Extra credit could be given for entering speech contests.

One of the benefits of this course is that it prepares interested students for competitive speech. IEW’s first-ever speech contest opens October 1! Students can participate in one or more speech categories, and first place winners will receive up to $500 along with an IEW gift certificate of equal value for their teacher or parent! Visit IEW.com/speech-contest for more information. You will find other contest opportunities and speech organizations listed on IEW’s contests page.

Heidi Thomas has a B.A. in Communications and an MHR from the University of Oklahoma. However, she admits that even after college she was the reluctant writer, lacking knowledge not of what to write but how to write. When Andrew Pudewa offered live Teaching Writing: Structure and Style classes and student seminars just three miles from her home, she attended, knowing this was the method she would use to teach her four boys. IEW certified Heidi as an Accomplished Instructor in 2013. In addition to teaching IEW Online classes, she is an IEW product developer and editor.

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