Public Speaking and Debate
Tutor: Andrea Merboth
Length: Full Year Class Period:  Thursday, period 2

Description:   Are you afraid of speaking in public? Then this is the class for you. Do you love to have a voice in the crowd? Then this is the class for you. Why? No matter where your Public Speaking skills are at you always have room to improve. The good news is that at CHAT we make it fun. Every year I have students say, "This is my favorite class!" and sometimes those are the students that were the most fearful of joining the class! A vast majority of people contend that public speaking is one of their greatest fears. Of those who have some comfort in that area, not all are well-prepared and polished at speaking and certainly few are giving a Christian message; yet, the human language is one of the main methods God has chosen to use to reveal Himself to us. Prayer, scripture and praise all use words, and are our primary ways of communing with Him. Communication is also the primary way we interact with those around us. In CHAT's Speech & Communications class, we write and perform at least 4 main speeches, along with impromptu speeches, debate and other exercises. Speech at CHAT varies from most speech programs in that the words and wisdom of scripture will be used as the foundation for many of our speeches. This is a rare opportunity, since scripture is not typically used in the speeches for many communication programs, yet the finest speeches of all mankind have incorporated scripture: just check out the Gettysburg Address or JFK 2nd inaugural address, Martin Luther King Jr’ s I Have a Dream…..we can learn a lot from them. Also, I believe that there is no more valuable knowledge than scripture and no more critical time then the present world for that knowledge. Consequently, we will build our speech skills and elocution skills while we dig into secular and scriptural truths to convey our thoughts. The speeches we will do will help the individual to focus on one topic, surround that topic thoroughly, and yet reduce it to a manageable time frame. We will frequently present it to our group(s), building the polish that is needed so that the student is engaging to his or her audience. By polish, I mean the poise, volume and confidant manner of speaking that makes one an interesting speaker. Some of the speeches and exercises such as: debate; require some research as well as critical thinking and the ability to drive home good points with grace and love. Impromptu speeches will prepare the student for the most frequently used type of speech: on the spot. Other speeches we may do are: A Bible Verse, Storybook, Informational, Persuasive, dramatic duo’s, and Personal Interps.

This speech course is a combintation of Jr. and Senior High students so please be aware that we may address some diverse and intense topics, but we will view them all through the lens of the Bible.

Most of the students will participate in a rotation helping the teacher as a “Student Leader.” This means that they will assist in leading the class by leading speech activities, giving clear directions, respecting time limitations, and leading critique groups, and watching for students that may need help

We hope to have some in room tournaments and some out of the classroom performances, so parents will need to be available to judge several times per year.

Building Speaking skills is much like a sport, there are a lot of facets to it and it takes time, so please understand that a full year is required to really get the student developing their speaking skills, in fact, much improvement yearly can be seen in students who take 2 and even 3 years of speech.

Note:  New students may join at semester.  The 2nd semester will focus on debate and persuasive speeches if room allows.

Below is a sample debate:

Tutor: Andrea Merboth has a BA in Occupational Therapy. She has homeschooled 4 children and been a high school Sunday School teacher for ten years as well as a coach/leader in Bible Quizzing for twelve years. For three years she was involved in the excellent Institute for Cultural Communicators (ICC) both in their speech/communications program and their debate program. She also has taught Speech for two years at the TRUTH Academy and has directed several plays, one-acts and skits, all which help to develop a student’s ability to speak in public. The comfort that Mrs. Merboth has in speaking in public was born out of her youth involvement as an assistant to a magician and later, to over ten years performing on stage with a band. Comfort on stage and before the microphone has opened many doors and proven that those who are comfortable and skilled will be the voice that is heard in a crowd-something which is critical to reaching the hearts of generations of people for Christ.

Cost: $215, $225 or $235 per semester (depending on registration date)
: Grades 7-12

Prerequisite: None
Homework: There will be a new speech required about every 3-4 weeks as well as weekly homework to observe and respond to current or historical speeches. In the second semester when we delve into debate, there will be weekly research expected for about 3 weeks.
Text: Access to your Bible and a library/computer