For Week 3: Begin readings of Michael
Sproule's The Heritage of Rhetorical Theory.
Respond to the following questions
1. How does Sproule justify using the past to learn public speaking
skills in the present postmodern world [and what does that word mean
2. What are a couple of the BIG IDEAS we can learn about the uses and
strategies of rhetoric by looking at Egyptian and Asian Cultures?
3. In your own words tell me why the teaching of public speaking skills
seems particularly connected to the practice of democracy?
4. Sproule talks at length about ethics and credibility as being at the
heart of Greek and Roman discussions of rhetoric. Why was it so
important? And do you see any of the same concerns in current
textbooks? in the "real" world?
For Week 4: Begin readings of Cicero's Institutes of Oratory
Respond to the following questions
about Book 2
1. What does Q. say about what kind of person the rhetoric teacher
should be and what kinds of strategies he should use to best encourage
2. Q. talks about exercises students do--narrations, common places,
theses, etc. Does he think these set pieces are useful in the
real world? Why or why not?
3. Why can't instruction in rhetorical skills be boiled down to a book
Second set of questions on Book II
1. What is rhetoric? [according to Quintilian]
2. Do you think rhetoric is an art? Why or why not?
3. What in Book 2 struck you as surprising, interesting, or raised an
issue you might want to find out more about?
For Week 5 and 6 Finish readings of Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory
Study questions for Books 11 and 12:
Due Tuesday Feb. 17
In Book 11
1. What advice does Q have for improving the memory of speakers?
2. How important is delivery to Q.?
3. What are the elements of the voice? or what are the
vocal characteristics that matter in delivery?
In Book 12:
1. This book is the culmination of Q's work here he really
describes the heart and soul of the ideal orator he set out to form and
to explain how to form. What are the characteristics of this
'good man skilled in speaking" that Q describes. How does he
act? How does he differ from a bad man? Why should we be
motivated to cultivate true eloquence? These questions are really
the ones Q deals with in Book 12 (he is in some sense using the
techniques of narrative, comparison, metaphor anecdote, etc. that he
uses to teach young orators as he writes this section--so he is
repeating himself often). I am just asking you to try to render
them in your own words.
For Week 7
Here are the Progymnasmata, the Roman Exercises all listed and
discussed on Gideon Burton's website. We've done two rounds of
exercises with them and the used #13 to support our midterm evaluation.
Read Sproule on Early
American Public Speaking Training
Read Excerpts from the History of Speech Education
For Week 8: MIDTERM CHECK AND LOOKING
This week we will continue to work with the nineteenth century but you
must also check out information on assignments for the rest of the term.
Public Speaking Textbook Project II
Final Project Assignment
[Final Project Topic Form]
- You might enjoy this reading on the rhetorical canon of
Thoughts on Arrangement" by Donald Stewart.
- Or you might enjoy this interview with some current leading
scholars in rhetoric about new discussion of what rhetoric is.
this is a good read if you want to see if you've been "getting" any of
what we've been talking about. Kairos
For Week 9 : in class we are listening to presentations on 19th century
For Week 10--this is the week after break
Read about the Rhetorical Canons at: this website
(you'll need to click on the links to go to each canon) . The
discussions are not long, you want to read them well enough that you
will be ready for a brief quiz about the reading.
Read your textbook chapters so that you are ready to talk about where
you are heading with the textbook
project, part II
For Week 11
Read Sproule on Plain
and answer the following questions for Thursday
1. What are the characteristics of the "plain speech movement" as
characterized by Sproule?
2. How do these characteristics differ from Sproule's presentation of
the characteristics of 19th century discourse? [to answer
this you may have to click on the "previous" link at the end of the
Sproule essay online since that will take you back to the 19th century
3. How do they differ from what we learned about the characteristics of
19th century discourse and speech training during our presentations?
Read Sproule on Using
Your Resources for Better Speech
and answer the following questions
for Tuesday April 6
1. In Sproule's summary of his whole essay he makes clear that his goal
has been to prove that "ethical, social, and cultural traditions of the
past can lead us to better public speaking in the present. As a speaker
in the diffuse and changing circumstances of postmodern America, you
should be aim to marshal as many resources from as many sources as
possible." What are four of the concepts/principles identified by
Sproule that come out of those "ethical, social and cultural traditions
of the past"?
2. Reflect on your own behaviors as a public speaker--especially those
you have noted in non-classroom environments. What resources have
you used from your own life experience, what influences do you think
have encouraged you to develop the kind of speaking style you have
developed? [I will be hoping for a couple of paragraphs in response to
this question. The easiest way to respond might be to identify
3-4 characteristics you have as a speaker--telling stories, using
humor, organizing ideas, practicing, using visual aids like powerpoint,
gesturing, etc. , explaining those characteristics briefly and then
reflecting on what in your life influenced the development of each of
3. Do you think that the study of speeches, like the speech of Ann
Richards discussed in Sproule, can make someone a better speaker?
Why or why not? [Those of you taking rhetorical criticism ought
to be thinking about this question quite seriously.]
For Weeks 12, 13 and 14 We will be listening to final projects and
hearing the best tips for oral presentations in different fields.
Be ready to be a formal peer critic for your classmate's presentation
for classwork point credit.
Extra Credit Classwork Points Option