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January 25, 2009

Finding Your Voice

Colleagues,

Most students of other languages lack confidence in public speaking of the new language. Shyness is a major barrier to making a language your own.

In essence, the main principle is practice, practice, practice.

But what is a safe and practical way to to do this?

Thanks to the internet there are . . .

. . . a multitude of opportunities. Youtube is a useful place to start. You can do a search by a person's name or by a topic.

I would encourage you to find both a written version and a recording of President Barack Obama's speeches and read them out loud as you listen to how he speaks. His vocabulary is mostly basic but he uses relatively simple words to convey memorable ideas. Pay particular attention to his cadence, pacing and phrases.

This is a great classroom activity but it is also an excellent individual language practice.

Here are some other websites with speeches. You might as well learn from the best!

Http://www.winstonchurchill.org This site is dedicated to Winston Churchill. Included is a link to many of his famous speeches, as well as his often harsh and humorous quotes - both by and about him. This could give you ideas to add to a speech, or information about Churchill himself.

Http://www.toastmasters.org This is an organization dedicated to helping individuals learn how to speak in front of an audience. This site includes self-paced programs. I would encourage you to join (or create) your own group. This can be a lot of fun as well as a great way to network with other people.

Http://www.public-speaking.org This site promises to help make a reader the best public speaker possible. There are twenty categories, such as body of speech, organization, incorporating humor, closings and word choice. More than 100 articles are offered for each subject.

I look forward to hearing from you as you test these and other strategies. I welcome your thoughts and experiences.

Everyone loves a good story - and we can all learn from each other.

Disasters aren't so bad when they are shared and triumphs just get better with each telling.

Blessings to all -

Morf

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About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf spent about six years working for a Native American Tribal College, a few years teaching various humanities, English, writing and ESL courses with the community college system in Washington State (including one year as part of a faculty exchange program with The Beijing Foreign Language University). While in China, Morf was briefly a radio host for CRI (China Radio International) and did recordings for the "English can be enjoyable" book and tape series. Morf currently teaches English and writing for a local technical/vocational college with many international students. Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else likes and unlikely and ridiculous situations.

Morf is also quietly anticipating that unexpected, but lucrative job offer.

Posted by mmorf at January 25, 2009 02:41 PM

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