Sunday, September 06, 2015

A Learner, A Writer, A Presenter.

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There are many skills that are learned from presenting a speech. You learn how many times you have to practice to be able to say it easily, you discover how to make your writing in an easy-to-follow speech format, and you can establish how you are going to make your speech the best that it can be. As an 8th grade student, I already knew most of these skills. However, throughout this summative task, I’ve come to see more things that I can learn from myself as a writer and a presenter. 

     To start off, I've seen that when writing the first draft, I try to get all my ideas down onto the paper without really thinking about how it sounds. Every idea that pops into my head while typing away gets included in the jumble of words. That way, nothing gets missed out and I won't have to try to remember that one idea was later on. Eventually, after each thought is recorded, I will go back to the beginning, and work my way down to the bottom, editing each part as I go. I find that this is a useful strategy, because I know that if I start off doing things thorough and well, then I'll have to spend less time on the writing later and more on the presenting.

     However, for some reason, after maybe one or two edits, I can't spot the mistakes anymore. Since I've then been working on it and reading over the same words continuously for a while, my mind just "stops spotting the errors." In some cases, I can't spot the errors because they don't exist, however in other cases there are some major revisions necessary but I can't seem to find them. When this happens, I know that this is the time when I need feedback. I prefer going to a peer first, because they can give me the general reviews. For example, they can easily tell me if they don't understand some parts or if there is too much repetition, etc. Next, I turn to an adult such as my teacher or a parent to look more into the details. If parts of a paragraph aren't flowing smoothly or if there is no clarity, they are most likely the ones to inform me. Furthermore, when I get this feedback, I go home, and immediately try to work out how I can revise my draft using their comments. The people I ask feedback for, are always the ones who are going to listen to the speech, they are the audience, so if they don't like it then it's most often not very good. Accordingly, I make the revisions.
As a result of improving my speech, I learn to pay attention to specific writing skills and my speech will still become better and better.
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     To change the topic from writing to presenting, Deborah Bull proclaimed that "body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words." Throughout my classroom experiences, I've observed that people who just talk without gestures, don't bring their topic across to the audience as well as someone who uses their arms, and perhaps other parts of their body. Thus, when I was practicing my speech, I made sure I had at least 3-5 significant movements. An example was when I was emphasising how much our society has progressed. I moved my hands from the left to the right to indicate a timeline. Another one, that people gave positive feedback on, was when I was explaining in my speech how the digital waves coming from our electronic devices come into our bodies. I had brought my phone up to the podium, and in that part, I demonstrated how through calling the waves could be transmitted. I had used a prop, which was a great way to visually represent my information. This is something that I will remember, because I know how my speech will look like when I don't include gestures.

     In future speeches, I'm going to continue using the skills I just mentioned since they will help a great deal. They were very effective in multiple ways, contributed to the overall success of the presentation, and I learned more about myself when I work through this process.

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