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January 12, 2011

The Well-Crafted Word

I always encourage my students to pay attention to current events. There are always challenging and...

...inspiring things going on in the world.

How we respond to tragedies and difficulties says a lot about who we are as human beings.

I am sure everyone reading this has heard about the tragic shootings in Tucson (pronounced "two-sawn), Arizona, USA.

As always, everyone seems to have an opinion or someone to blame for something like this. We honor those who did their best to assist, or even save those immediately affected, yet we always need some kind of authority to step in and help us define and make sense of the situation.

As I probably mentioned before, I occasionally teach public speaking. Speaking in front of a large group is always difficult - even frightening. Yet the mastery of this ability will take you far in life. Many opportunities will open - or close - based on your ability to put difficult situations into words that others can relate to.

Whatever you may think of President Obama, he is a master speaker. I urge my students to listen to sterling examples of well-presented speeches. These presentations can be as inspiring as they are informative.

As always, it seems, President Obama gave a magnificent speech in the most difficult of circumstances.

You can see and read President Obama's response to the shootings in Tucson here - http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/01/obamas-arizona-speech-transcript-video/69467/.

I am not teaching public speaking right now, but if I were, I would have my students read through the text and study President Obama's body language, tone of voice and his ability to connect with his audience.

Certainly this speech will be remembered as one of the greatest speeches ever in American politics.

You can see a variety of responses to his speech here - http://politicalwire.com/archives/2011/01/12/reactions_to_obamas_speech.html.

Giving a speech like this takes dedication and practice, practice, practice. If you work on it, perhaps you too, can leave a memorable mark like this.

Send us any links or other resources that you think any teachers, students or even just normal people might find interesting or useful. Let us all know about words that make you crazy, aspects of language and expression you find challenging, and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


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 is currently a radio host (http://www.tacoma.fm/) and a newspaper columnist http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/columnists/morf_morford/ and would love to do either one of those somewhere else in the world later this year.

Posted by mmorf at January 12, 2011 10:31 PM


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