ODA Braves America’s #1 Fear

ODA Braves America's #1 Fear

Glossophobia: the fear of public speaking and the #1 fear of Americans, even ahead of death. It is so large, people nationwide have felt the need to drop classes or quit jobs in order to avoid it. With the #1 fear being such a large part of growing into adults, ODA has decided to bridge the gap of terror between students and public speaking.

Recently, English classes across the Upper School, along with the senior Issues in Contemporary Society class, have incorporated public speaking into the curriculum. Aside from specific assignments, each English class, no matter what the grade or level, required a speech given by each student. These speeches ranged from 3-5 minutes long, and were allowed to be about anything the student felt the desire to speak about. Naturally, this came with many varying opinions.

“I thought it was a great opportunity not only to support my classmates in taking risks, but also to learn something new about them,” says senior Cammy Harris.

Cammy represents the fraction of students who seemed to greet this public speaking opportunity with open arms, as opposed to resisting it due to fear.

On the other end of the spectrum was a larger majority of students who felt negative towards the idea of public speaking.  For some, these feelings were along the lines of terror and anxiety, while others were less significant but still against speaking in front of other people.

“Public speaking makes me nervous. I don’t like doing it, but I also think it gets better when we’re allowed to talk about whatever we want, instead of some confusing Shakespeare or something,” says sophomore Ethan Eckhard.

This idea of talking about something familiar is the opinion of many students. When they are speaking about a topic that they are familiar with or passionate about, students are typically much more comfortable. A lot of the pressure is relieved, and it helps students to relax slightly.

“One of the English department’s goals going into this year was to implement the upper school Declaration Program across all four grade levels. Public speaking is important because it’s a skill students need throughout their lives, and in doing so it works on improving listening and writing skills. On behalf on the department, we were pleased with everyone’s efforts and we are determined to prove the program based on the feedback we received,” says Mr. Lemieux, English Department Head and teacher at the upper school.

No matter how disliked it is, it’s hard to argue that public speaking is not beneficial to young adults. Because of this, it will continue to be integrated into the curriculum of ODA’s Upper School.

Don’t stress out about it; just breathe, and let it out.