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Bringing college to Clark
New GCC speech class helps students get ahead
November 8, 2016
“You don’t need abs, you need kebABS!” said junior Khachik Muradyan in his presentation about how to make Armenian kebabs. Muradyan is part of the 25 teens putting their future to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school in GCC’s first-ever speech class held on Clark’s campus.
Speech classes are often required by universities and colleges. Students most often take this course on a college campus; however, professor Adrian Trejo has been teaching Clark juniors and seniors about public speaking from 3:10 to 5:05 p.m. twice a week in math teacher Geoff Woods’s room.
This class is free and gives students both high school and college credits. “It looks great on college applications as institutes recognize the student is familiar with experience at a university level,” said counselor Karine Turdjian. The current class is for fall semester and extends from Sept. 20 to Dec. 15.
A free textbook is loaned to all pupils, A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking by Dan O’Hair, Hannah Rubenstein and Rob Stewart. This small textbook is utilized to “develop skills in the areas of language, listening, audience analysis, evidence evaluation, presentation skills and oral communication effectiveness,” Trejo said on the first day of class.
Throughout the course, four speeches are completed: an introductive speech in which students discuss themselves, an informative speech, a persuasive speech and a final group presentation. Each speech requires a working outline and a self-evaluation that follows after presenting. “The outlines take a while but they help me plan out my speech better,” said junior Sevak Kazaryan.
Each class begins promptly after school with a code written on the whiteboard to link students to a Nearpod presentation. Nearpod is an app which allows Trejo to lecture with everyone having easy access to the presentation at the palm of their hands. One lecture session usually covers around two to three chapters of the textbook.
“I wish I had taken this class at Clark,” said junior Manuel Sardaryan, who is taking the same class on the GCC campus. “It seems a lot more comfortable to present with other people from school instead of adults.” The atmosphere in the class is positive and the students have gotten to know each other well if they hadn’t already.
Not only are these students learning and having fun, they’re also getting to know other students at their school. “The speeches and all of the work put into them thus far have mostly been high quality,” said Trejo in an e-mail interview. “As for interesting topics and content, research, creative slides, speech outlines and delivery, Clark students have been on par with my college students.”
Of course the class isn’t always serious — it can get really interesting. There are often impromptu extra credit presentations given to students in class. Topics have ranged from “how to be Kanye West” and overzealous “how I eat oreos” presentations. “I can’t believe how bold and easygoing some of these people are,” said junior Lousine Aslanyan.
Each speech requires an “attention getter” in which the presenter must use a unique and creative method to attract the audience’s attention from the beginning. From screaming to putting on small scenarios with other students, class members have demonstrated the ability to capture a audience’s attention.
With all humor aside, some students in the class have seen improvement in their oratory skills. “Taking this class has helped me practice for my senior project,” said senior Natalie Deravanessian. Clark’s staff are proud of their students as they take initiative to challenge themselves and get ahead. “I really like this program because students can get the extra credits they need to go to a university or Cal State,” Turdjian said.
Trejo has also recognized the potential and change in the students. “We just finished our second speeches, and I noticed that the students were more confident and better organized in terms of working through each part of the speech,” he said in the e-mail interview.
Students in this class have gained practice and knowledge on how to present, skills they can use for the rest of their life. Clark “plans to add another class to the school next semester,” Turdjian said. “If there is a course offered at Clark in spring, and I’m fortunate enough to be offered it, I would love to teach the Speech class again because I think it’s an important skill for high school, college and your career,” Trejo said.
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