Thursday, December 9, 2010

On public speaking

The other day, I was telling my husband, that I was considering writing a post on declamation and elocution.  "On what?" he said, clearly implying that this time I've gone too far. "You know", I said "on public speaking".  In fact, those two no longer recognized subjects, used to be a regular part of education, back way when.  They involved  reading or reciting certain famous or not so famous speeches or poems with dramatic expression and proper diction. I think rhetoric is still part of a Classical education.  But I was thinking, that all joking aside, public speaking ability is still very important.  The ability to organize one's thoughts and to communicate them clearly and eloquently is a very useful skill that could come in very handy in many different avenues of life.  Fortunately, Jewish communal living can be very conducive to acquiring this sometimes elusive skill.  In a home setting, there are opportunities even for young children, to recite things, to share a Torah thought at a Shabbos table, to make speeches in honor of something or someone, to teach in many different venues.  It is also somethings that could be modeled effectively by parents, relatives, rabbis, etc and that way the children could pick it up almost effortlessly.  It can go nicely together with memorization as well.  For older children and teens one can go more in depth on how to prepare a well crafted speech and what is involved.   It's worth the effort and they and possibly their children or students might thank you for it one day. 


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