Last semester, 300 students from across NUS signed up for the NM module on Introduction to Public Speaking, GEM2027.
Back in AY 2010-2011, the module’s founding instructors had envisioned a highly hands-on module in which students get a chance to craft and present speeches in front of their peers. Their goal had been to help students become more polished speakers, at ease with speaking in front of an audience.
As the course gained popularity, the seminar-format module meant initially, for NM Honours Year students only, was scaled up, and under Dr Tracy Loh’s leadership, got converted into the present lecture-tutorial format. Today GEM2027 is a much sought-after general elective module, available to all NUS undergraduates.
“Feedback for this module from the students has been very positive, with many citing it as one of the most practical, useful and enjoyable courses in their NUS careers,” said Dr Loh.
Prospective students can look forward to another fulfilling experience as this semester’s module coordinator, Ms Elizabeth Cardoza and her team endeavour to fine-tune the course. “The GEM2027 teaching team will continue to improve student skills development in public speaking by delivering interesting lectures and facilitating enthused tutorials”.
To tell potential students more about what to expect from the course, we asked a recent GEM2027 graduate, Hannah Ee, a fourth year student from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to share with us her thoughts about the public speaking course offered by CNM:
As a Year 4 engineering student who is about to go into the working world, I decided to take GEM2027 Introduction to Public Speaking after hearing seniors who are already in the workforce talking about the presentations they need to give to their colleagues and bosses monthly. I came into the module with hopes that the course would make me more comfortable with giving speeches and presentations in front of a group of people. I was not disappointed.
Our tutor, Ms Tan Ee Lyn, makes every class seems like a chat between old friends. She provides timely and helpful feedback on our speeches and exhorts us to continuously strive upwards and onwards. By the end of the semester, everyone in the class had seen a marked improvement in the delivery of their speeches all thanks to the help from our tutor. From my own perspective, I was less nervous and more confident in standing in front of a crowd and delivering a speech.
There were three graded speeches in this module, namely epideictic speech, informative speech and persuasive speech. The topics of the speeches are not set: you can choose any topic that you like and present it in any way you want within a certain time limit. Having a limitless sky from which to expound our ideas gave form to a myriad of styles in presentation. From the comments that Ms Tan gave us, I was able to find a style that best suited me, but yet was able to convey the intentions of my speeches effectively and succinctly.
GEM2027 also provided me a platform to meet friends across faculties and years. Taking this module without my friends, I was nervous and jittery when I stepped into the first tutorial class. It turned out that most of the students in my tutorial class were taking the module alone, and all of us soon bonded, becoming fast friends. By the end of the semester, I knew everyone in the class and we are still keeping in contact through Facebook.
Public speaking is important to everyone. As students, we might find ourselves presenting our project to our classmates, or even our final year project to a panel of graders. For some of us, we would need to present monthly updates to a group of people which might include your bosses and colleagues. Some of us might also find that we have to do presentations to clients. I would recommend this module to anyone who is looking for opportunities to practise and polish their public speaking skills. Students will also get to explore ways to present before they settle on a style most comfortable for themselves.