Activity Showcase: Face Your Fears - And Your Audience

Activity Showcase: Face Your Fears - And Your Audience

An ideal class activity for Week 1 of the quarter, this lesson plan from the TeachingPWR archive provides students with the opportunity to put their knowledge of rhetoric into practice through two short 1-minute presentations designed to introduce themselves to the class -- and to re-introduce them to the concept of audience and rhetorical situation.

Activity name: Face Your Fears -- And Your Audience

Description: Students deliver two 1-minute introductions of themselves to two very different audiences; e.g., they introduce themselves to Kim Jong-un and then they introduce themselves to their unborn child.

Course: PWR2, to introduce the ways we adjust our oral argument and embodied rhetoric to meet the expectations of varying audiences; could also work in the first week of PWR1 to help students experience what we mean by rhetorical situation.

Timing/schedule: I pass out this assignment the first day of class and have students prepare it for the second day of class. It’s a great ice breaker, and takes about 50 minutes if all 15 students present two speeches. I usually hold class discussion until after the second speech, and then we talk about how the content and embodied rhetoric were appropriate for each situation.

Goals: To get to know each other: where they’re from, what they’re studying, who can deliver a joke; to begin to discuss features of effective oral delivery, among others, concision, emphatic repetition, and memory; to make sure they’re up in front of the class and practicing their oral delivery from week 1!

Details: See handout (Stanford only).

Additional notes:  Students have had a lot of fun with this. They’ve delivered poems. They’ve brought their guitars and sang their hearts out. They’ve brought great props — special hats, shoes, e.g.  I can see it working as an improv exercise, too, tho’ you’d probably want to give students a couple of minutes to collect their thoughts.

Some students will have trouble talking about themselves, either for cultural reasons or because they’re introverts. I usually advise these students to imagine more formal situations that require less self disclosure. And I remind everyone that they’re experts on themselves! No one is going to tell them they’re wrong!

This assignment is also available on the PWR Canvas site at PWR Canvas>Files>Teaching Materials>Activity Showcase.