Friday, August 7, 2009


I wouldn’t call myself an introvert, but I am definitely a not-extrovert.

So begins an essay by Brad Bollenbach entitled “Social Skydiving: Where Do You Meet People?” on the website  Me, I’m an introvert.  I don’t consider it a personal flaw; on the contrary, I consider my quiet nature to be the core and strength of my personality.  That being said, I have long felt that there is something odd about an introverted teacher teaching speaking skills to students. 

Me, I sometimes feel guilty for not giving speaking its fair share of classroom time.

Does oral language instruction get the short straw in your langauge arts program?

When preparing your students for standardized tests, those little standards labeled Speaking And Listening can easily slip by the wayside. And yet, is there any skill more important in landing a job, surviving social engagements, or being a successful leader than confident oral language skills?

The above quote is from the website Byrdseed, authored by Ian Byrd. 

Ian writes an inspiring series of articles, “Analyzing Great Speeches,” concerning teaching speaking.  He begins by stating a learning outcome:

Verbal and non-verbal patterns converge to create a powerful public speaker.

He then proceeds to present a unit plan in which students analyze and practise the specific elements that constitute good public speaking.

Before reading Ian’s essay, I never considered teaching speaking much beyond this: student stands in front of the class and speaks.  Ian demonstrates that teaching speaking does not need to be undirected and haphazard.  There is an underlying structure to speaking that can be analyzed and learned.

The article I quoted at the beginning of this post complements Ian’s insomuch as the author analyzes the components of socializing and speaking.  It is science, not magic.

I am reasonably good at meeting new people, but only for the same reasons that I am reasonably good at building websites or playing chess: I’ve treated it as a problem that can be solved through directed thinking and deliberate effort.

There is hope even for geeky introverts like me.

Photo by fantomdesigns.


Post a Comment