EDMOND—Freshman Fundamentals of Speech students delivered presentations on March 28 and April 3-4 for a special assignment: the symposium. The assignment involves students working together in small groups to present a set of complementary five-minute speeches on a topic and host a question-and-answer session. The assignment is the only group presentation in the freshman speech program.
The class of 25 students divided into five groups, delivering “Language and the Mind,” “Effects of the Hippie Movement,” “The Migration of the Monarch Butterflies,” “The Art of Running” and “King George VI.”
“The leader is responsible for the overall project and for ensuring all separate but harmonious speeches are woven together skillfully,” said instructor Harley Breth. “Those in supporting positions help by providing insight into a key area …. It’s great experience for what may come after college.”
The unit began on March 14, with a lecture by assistant speech instructor Jason Cocomise: “Working and Speaking in Small Groups.” On March 21, he lectured about using presentation aids, and Breth delivered “Managing Your Impression as a Public Figure.” Students worked together in and out of class to prepare their presentations.
“The symposium is so much harder than other speeches,” said student Elias Noe, “because the team members have to rely on each other. … No matter what little differences or quirks we have, we all must stick together and do the best job we can.”
“Preparing for this group presentation, I found it challenging having to organize the different facets of our subject in the most cohesive way possible,” said Matthew Castillo, one of the group leaders. “I have learned how having an organized group meeting is profitable and saves time. An agenda and participating group members is a recipe that is sure to produce.”
“Each group certainly displays their creativity differently,” Breth said, “but they all manage to grow, observe growth in the rest of their group, and learn from this unique experience.”
“For me, it has brought to light the practical, real world application of this exercise,” student Nathan Weese said. “For instance, in a job, a team of employees will likely present ideas and objectives to their supervisor. This project familiarizes us to that process.”
“It was a great experience learning to work together as a team,” student Seth Malone said. “Each speech relied on the others. It forced you to know not just your topic, but the entire subject.”
The symposium is the 12th assignment of the academic year, after the ice breaker; speak with purpose; crystal clear; overcome; logic; oral expression; world problem, cause solution; add color, stir to action, personalized and impromptu. The final assignment of the year is the heart-to-heart.