The Art of Persuasion

Poised, articulate and prepared are just a few adjectives that come to mind while listening to the students’ presentation for the Public Speaking class final project. Kyle Reynolds assigned the students to prepare for either a job interview, crisis management scenario or an election platform for 2020 for an authentic and real-world learning opportunity. Faculty and staff rotated among the 14 students, asked hard-hitting questions and took notes.

Reynolds provided a backstory for each of the scenarios to allow the faculty and students a realistic vignette. The job interviews included a high school athletic director, sports broadcaster or professional lacrosse league analyst where the faculty or staff member acted as the hiring employer and the student was vying for the coveted position. 

The crisis management scenarios provided some tense exchanges in a number of instances: a superintendent and assistant superintendent involved in an illicit romance, a financial error that will cost employees an astronomical increase in their healthcare costs, and leaked salary information. Imagine Brenda Semmelrock’s surprise when she learned that her employer, a financially struggling institution, wiped out her entire retirement plan! She asked a cool as a cucumber, Tim Cotter ’20  if the school was prepared to pay for her walker now that she will have to work until she is 85. Cotter offered to hold bake sales to fund the retirement savings account and stifled a laugh behind the papers he was holding in his hand.

Students assigned to the election presented on healthcare, the second amendment, and immigration reform at a “town hall.” Reynolds encouraged the faculty to “feel free to interrupt”  in his rubric. Other students pitched a number of inventive ‘products’ including an umbrella hat and a cheezy finger, a silicone covering for your fingers to protect them from Cheeto dust. Another was a robot that would bring you toilet paper if you happened to run out and need it immediately. 

One staff interviewer said, “I was thoroughly impressed with all of the presentations that I saw. Having to be put on the spot and articulate a viewpoint or interview or defend a position is no easy task, even for an adult. What a great springboard as a life skill!”
Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
Copyright 2018. Kingswood Oxford.