Public Speaking & Writing by Michael (Q4)

  1. Michael will perform a quick review of proper speaking form, tone, body language, eye contact, and confidence level. Essays submitted during the last class of Q3 are returned with feedback, and the instructor will review the elements of professional writing: specifically, the ability to create and address one's own arguments, and seeking evidence in literature in order to support those arguments.
    Speaking exercise: Each student will pick a partner and take turns speaking in front of the class. The student who is speaking will make a proper introduction of his friend to a parent. The instructor will teach the elements of strong conversational skill and review why first impressions, especially in front of peers and adults are critical.
  2. "Two Kinds," Amy Tan. Amy Tan has become an esteemed name in the annals American literature for describing her experience of growing up in America through the lens of an immigrant. "Two Kinds" is a story about a child pushed to become a prodigy by her ambitious mother. However, the mother's plan backfires when instead of heeding her mother's high expectations, her child instead becomes rebellious. Growing up in a highly competitive academic environment, every child in Montgomery County can relate to high parental expectations. These themes are explored in depth, and Michael reveals that true winners share one important universal characteristic: possessing a clear vision, backed up by an unrelenting internal driving force.
    Speaking Exercise: Students take turns speaking directly to the class using proper public speaking form and tone ways they have succeeded on their own merits apart from parental influence. Students share the ways in which they hold deep gratitude towards their families, while maintaining independent creative spirit and thought.
  3. "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," Mark Twain. Twain is known is the father of American literature and his works remain iconic and staple reading more than 150 years after they were published. In the story, man recounts a tale of a friend who once made a bet with a stranger. The stranger is able to swindle his way to winning by using lead to weigh down his opponent's jumping frog. The themes of the importance of salesmanship and winning intelligently while avoiding cheating are explored. Michael will explain the difference between obtaining a compelling competitive advantage (highly encouraged) and breaking the rules (not permissible).
  4. "There Will Come Soft Rains," Ray Bradbury. Bradbury ranks highly with Asimov as one of the fathers of modern science fiction. This futuristic tale explores the possibility of the destruction of civilization, specifically the ever-present fear that was felt during the height of the Cold War. Michael will explore the themes of fear and persistence with the class and explain how setbacks are opportunities for real winners to emerge.
  5. "The Wives of the Dead," Nathanial Hawthorne. Hawthorne's work explores the emotional reactions of women who learn that their supposedly deceased husbands are still alive. Students explore what true love really means, and why it's important to follow one's internal gut feeling when making decisions.
  6. "The Last Question," Isaac Asimov. Asimov is known as the father of science fiction. The last question is arguably Asimov's most powerful short story. The themes of "what do I want?" and "how do I get there?" are explored in detail.