Collinsville High School offers a variety of activities and elective classes to choose from during the school year. The speech and debate class offers a unique opportunity to improve your speaking and listening skills. The class is scheduled during 5th hour for the 2016-2017 school year.
Mrs.Brown, the teacher for the class, has instructed in a speech and debate class for a total of four years, two of which have been at Collinsville. Mrs. Brown was educated in teaching English, but needed to be certified in speech at one of her earlier positions. After getting her certification, she decided to go back to college to get a master’s degree, so she could more effectively teach the subject. She took many classes while studying for the degree including ones in acting, directing, and film.
Here is a segment from a Q&A with Mrs. Brown:
Q: What made you want to teach it (speech and debate) as a class?
A: “I think that speech and debate and drama appeals to those students who are not connected to other activities in the school. So, there are kids that find fulfillment in sports, there’s kids that find fulfillment in music, but there’s other kids who don’t really want to do either of those things and are kind of disconnected from the school. A strong speech and debate program, which i’m working on building, will give kids that sort of connection.”
Q: What do you teach in your speech and debate course?
A: “Confidence, being able to get in front of a group and not be afraid of what their thinking, or how you’re going to sound. Awareness of what you do and how you do it when you’re speaking in front of a group. Strategy for speaking and argumentation. How to make a good argument and argue effectively with others.”
Q: Are there any other life skills you think that gives students?
A: “I think being able to speak well and effectively and communicate well and also to realize the errors in communication other people are prone to make, makes for a much better person. I think it gives you a better chance at being hired in an interview and just makes you more likeable.”
Q: What exactly do you do to keep your students engaged in the class?
A: “We try to have fun. If it’s boring people aren’t going to realize how it’s useful, so I always like to continually bring in evidence of how especially poor speech and debate skills affect people in the real world.”
So, if you’re in Collinsville High School and you hear yelling, shouting, and overall chaos coming from the English hallway during 5th hour, know that it’s the speech and debate class going full steam ahead.