Take This Class: Public Speaking

Public speaking professor Pam Jurach emphasizes impromptu speaking. (Photo by Bryce Fraser)

Name of class: SPEECH 301

Professor who teaches: Pam Jurah

What semesters is it offered? Spring and Fall

What makes this class so interesting? Overcoming the fear of public speaking.

American River College offers Speech 301: Public Speaking to students in the spring and fall semesters. The focus of the class is to help students overcome, what some say, is the number one fear of all people: speaking in public.

To help alleviate this fear and teach students how to speak in front of an audience, Speech 301 will show participants how to organize, use supporting documents, and deliver speeches.

“I have learned how to speak in front of an audience and I’m not terrified anymore,” said Svetlana Nikolaychuk, a speech 301 student. “I have learned how to discuss current affairs, gender differences, and conflict resolution.”

This class also gives students the opportunity to investigate several kinds of topics that are of interest. Student speeches expand creativity and bolster their confidence, according to Pam Jurach, a professor of Speech 301.

One particular exercise used in class is impromptu speaking. Professor Jurach gives students a topic written on a piece of paper, and then each student has five minutes to prepare and deliver that speech. Apparently, organizing quickly and delivering without much preparation is a technique that some students say helped with stage fright.

Other course assignments include three delivered speeches in front of the class, which are seven to eight minutes long, and assigned by Professor Jurach.

Students interested in learning how to organize speeches and who want to overcome their fears of public speaking would benefit from taking this class. The casual, impromptu nature, combined with the structure of Professor Jurach’s assignments, add up to success for most students.

“This class has taught me to overcome my fear of public speaking,” said Nikolaychuk. “I have become more confident and self-assured when delivering a message.”

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