Protecting Public Speaking in Schools

Oral presentations in high school have become a major part of grades in some classrooms, and despite the anxiety and stress that public speaking may cause for some kids, eliminating the public speaking aspect of high school would be detrimental. These assignments are necessary for students to learn crucial skills that could make or break them outside of the classroom.

Speaking in front of people can trigger unpleasant feelings, such as the fear of rejection or embarrassment. I don’t speak from a place of science; I speak from a place of experience when I talk about the uneasiness that oral presentations can cause someone. This fear of speaking publicly is actually the reason why the requirement should remain. After high school or even after college, the skills acquired from public speaking do not just go away. For a number of career paths, it is necessary to be able to talk to people, whether it be on the phone, in front of a large crowd, or in front of just one person. Teachers, lawyers, marketers, and news reporters all need to be able to speak eloquently. When someone has good speaking skills, it communicates confidence to others; the practice it takes to acquire those skills helps people to feel more confident, too.

Additionally, public speaking is one of the best ways to spread ideas and open a discussion about important topics and problems. Oral presentations in school can help form these skills early on. Education plays a role, if not the most important one, in raising future generations. Therefore, it should be shaping young people into leaders with voices that will be heard. Public speaking experience in schools can determine whether a student becomes an assertive leader or a silenced-by-fear follower.

Oral presentations can also help to boost confidence. Often, students actually do really well and regret worrying so much as they find out that nothing goes wrong with public speaking. Succeeding at something students always pictured themselves failing at is a good resource for self-assurance. On the other hand, there is also the aspect of failing and recovering. Failure is inevitable, no matter who the person is or what he or she is doing. Even if students did not do as well as they had hoped, it is important for them to know that there will always be a next time to succeed and conquer the art of public speaking; therefore, the skills help foster resilience in these young minds.

Instead of getting rid of oral presentations completely, teachers should be more focused on helping students beneficially cope with stress so that they can still gain important skills from public speaking without getting hurt by it.