Students discard fear of public speaking

Dedicated speech professors prompt change in students

By Roxana Amparo, Staff Writer

The speech department is highly recognized for its successful speech and debate team and helpful professors who transform students into capable public speakers.

Taking second place in the Northern California Final at San Joaquin Delta College last spring, the speech and debate team earned another medal for its extensive collection. Competing against other community colleges and four-year universities, the team has maintained a solid reputation.

But behind the many successes of the team stand invaluable coaches: speech department Chairperson and professor Sherry Diestler and professors Hans Craycraft, John Perez, Natalie Kellner and Randy Carner help students improve their public speaking skills while preparing them for real life situations.

The dedicated group of instructors work to help students recognize that they can advocate for themselves and the things they believe in, Diestler said.

“Most of us (speech) coaches came from a place where public speaking was something we feared,” she said. “It is our mission to help other people (work past fears of public speaking).”

The speech department offers a variety of speech courses, from Speech 120 — Public Speaking to Speech 141 — Argumentation and Debate, in which students can practice their public speaking skills.

Students can learn the basics of giving a speech in the classroom, and receive one-on-one tutoring in the speech lab. The speech lab is open to anyone who wants to become better at interpretation, oral speeches or debating.

The lab is located in AA-113C and is open every Monday and Wednesday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and Tuesday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tutoring is available for ESL students.

Communications and English major Diamonique Spain, who works in the speech lab as a tutor, said that her ability to perform a good speech came with some practice. Spain said she did not consider herself a great public speaker or debater before taking up a role on the team.

“It makes you a critical thinker and that is so helpful,” she said.
Craycraft said that the team helps students to do necessary research, analyze things thoroughly and prepare a well-organized stance in the midst of debate.

“Being part of the team teaches students how to think things through rationally,” he said. “It allows you to be intellectually quick on your feet.”

Diestler said that joining the team benefits students who want to break out of their shell and broaden their perspectives of the world.

This semester, the speech and debate team will participate in a series of events. The first on the list is the upcoming Intramural Speech Tournament at San Francisco State.

The tournament will be a three-day event from Sept. 26-28, and will consist of two opposing teams. They will be given an abstract, random topic to research for their debate.

The next planned event is the annual Speaker Showcase, which will take place in the Knox Center on Nov. 13.

There will be an Intramural Speech Tournament on campus on Dec. 3, outside LA-100 at 3 p.m. It is open to all CCC students to participate in.