CMV: Forced public speaking in school is abusive and should be abolished.

First and foremost, speaking in public (a vague term, I suppose but meaning talking to a large group of theoretically judgmental people) is pretty important in a lot of ways:

  • It is important in getting jobs (interviews), doing many different types of jobs (teacher, salesperson, researcher) and it is important in keeping them (maintaining relationships in a company etc).

  • Is is important if you want to take part in local government, such ad town hall meetings, home owners associations, parents teacher associations or just leading the organization of a party of some sort.

  • It is important in many situations if you achieve success. For instance Hall of Fame Inductees, Nobel Laureates and Academy Award winners have to give speeches.

  • Between those (and other) needs, pubic speaking can greatly impact your ability to function economically, politically and socially. It is important for a lot of things, and almost any leadership role requires more or less the ability to speak to a group of more than one person. Public speaking may not be 100% required for every life, but it's pretty important for easily 95% of people, in one form or another.

Schools are designed to prepare people for life in "the real world." If a school can do something to help 95% of people be better prepared, that's a positive thing for the school to do. Can you agree that in general, for people NOT like you, public speaking is a) important for life a a broad number of ways, and b) a good thing for schools to teach.

Now, for at least 50% of people, telling the class something is a total non-issue. For the other 50%, they might not want to do it. For 80% of those 50%, they suck it up and do it no problem. Now, the final 10% might be more than a little miffed, and surely you fall into the last 10% (bear in mind these numbers are the grossest approximations, and are not meant to actually be statistics). But still, I think that 3 out of 4 times, those people ought to do it. In some cases the issue might be a lack of preparation, and a teacher helping students be more confident in what they have to say can fix that. In some cases they ought to "grow a pair," and get over petty fears. After all, many philosophers, contemporary or historical, have argued that the qualities of mental toughness, overcoming fears and trying new, difficult things are vital. Those qualities may lead to people leading more fulfilling, interesting lives, or strengthening their character and becoming superior people. Most fears can be defeated, and doing difficult things, such as overcoming fears, builds character.

Now I did leave a final 2.5% of people, one out of 40, and I'm also sure you would be in that category. However, in the end, the decision comes down to a few things:

  • A true fear of public speaking is an irrational fear. There is no reason to care THAT much about how people will judge you over the act of giving a small presentation. For a number of reasons, this ought to be overcome to help you become a more able and mentally more resilient person in general. The goal for all students should be overcoming this anxiety, either by repetition, "toughening up," or therapy techniques, or a combination of the three.

  • Public speaking is an important skill, as mentioned above. If at all possible, it should be taught. While some students may have trouble physically doing it, or trouble mentally coping with the process of doing so, in the end, the final goal should be to be able to give a good presentation and learn those skills.

I think only in the worst cases, once other options are exhausted, should a student be totally exempt from all forms of public speaking in class, and this should be discussed with anyone who might be able to help, including teachers, parents, counselors and therapists. Now, you might be one of the worst cases, judging on your comments. But for 99% of people, I think it is legitimate to "force" a student towards the goal of making a good public presentation. So I guess maybe I agree with you, but in practice, for 99% of students it should not be abolished.

/r/changemyview Thread