J. Alexander (ENG 101)
College Composition I


Twice during the semester, you will be asked to present informal speeches on different topics. Even though this class in Composition is not necessarily devoted to learning the art of oral communication, it is still very important for you to be comfortable, confident, and constructive in front of an audience of varying sizes. One of the keys to success in oral communication is preparation, which calls for organized thoughts, well-developed ideas, and a workable plan. You will be responsible for an effectively-presented set of thoughts on each topic. This will be the basis for evaluation.

Each speech will run from two to four minutes per student, depending on the clarity and efficiency of the speaker's communication. Be sure to consider these time limitations when developing a plan for your speech. Two to four minutes is not much time for a speech, believe it or not, and if you plan poorly and speak below or greatly beyond the given time parameters, it will affect your grade. You may use a single 3x5 index card if you wish to jot down basic notes for your speech. Under no circumstances are you permitted to read from these or any notes. References to notes are acceptable, but the great majority of the time must be spent looking at and sharing with the audience. After completion of your speech, the audience will have the opportunity to respond with questions or comments; however, you are not responsible for providing answers that are either unknown to you or are of too personal a nature. Please respond to questions or comments as you see fit.

Make sure you begin your speech by establishing the point or significance of your speech. It is imperative that you create for the audience a sense of the significance of your topic to you. The topic chosen does not have to be significant to the audience, but it must be clear that it is to the speaker.

SPEECH ONE: A significant turning point in your life. During the first few days of class, the group will attempt to get to know each other to create a productive working environment for the semester. Because many classes require a great amount of group work and collaborative learning, being comfortable with each other is very important. The first speech, therefore, will give you an opportunity to share a little about yourself by presenting a significant turning point or "crossroads" in your life. This event does not have to be earth-shattering, tragic or devastating (although do consider that they sometimes make the most interesting topics). The event itself didn't actually have to happen to you, either, as long as the outcome affected you and changed you in some way. You should be sure to give the audience a little background information about what or how you were before this event, how the event transpired, what exactly happened (in appropriate detail) and how it has changed you. Again, the event you choose to speak about only has to be significant to you; it does not necessarily have to be for the audience. If, however, you do not make it clear that it is significant to you, you will be evaluated accordingly.

SPEECH TWO: Proposal of Argumentative Research Topic. Students will identify the following five elements: 1) the narrowed focus of this paper (which must be reduced from a broad field of interest), 2) the debatable issue being investigated, 3) the argumentative thesis being proposed, 4) one credible counter-argument, and 5) at least three secondary sources being used in the research.