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Public Speaking at AUI: Using Competition to Promote Learning

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Public Speaking at AUI Using Competition to Promote Learning

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences organized a Public Speaking Contest where the topic was Cheating and Academic Dishonesty. In five minutes, each student had to deliver a persuasive speech clearly stating whether academic dishonesty hurts members of the university community or not.

The event was organized by the Public Speaking Committee with Professors Latifa El Mortaji and Sara Maderious as jury members. Below, the winning students shared how the public speaking course offered at AUI prepared them for the contest.

"Public speaking has definitely been one of my favorite courses this semester as it has allowed me to work on my soft skills. From boosting my confidence to improving my communication skills and being able to engage an audience, this course has helped me fine-tune all the soft skills that a student would need. The opportunity to participate in the Public Speaking Contest this semester is one I am thankful for. I was able to showcase all the skills I have learned throughout my time in this course and winning first place was as though all my efforts bore fruit. The topic for this semester's contest was about Plagiarism. I presented my stance that cheating and academic dishonesty hurts everyone. First of all, students who cheat and get away make it unfair for honest students.  Moving on, an article by the Northern Illinois University stated how cheating leads to habit forming. Habit forming suggests that those who involve in cheating in academic aspects assume they can always get away with it such as in work, family life and so on. Plagiarism greatly impacts original authors as it is essentially theft of their original work. Due to all these negative consequences, the value of the education system is lowered. Once again, I would like to extend my gratitude for all the learning I got from my professor Dr. El Mortaji’s class, and for the Public Speaking Committee for giving me such a fulfilling opportunity through the contest, and a platform to share my views on this important topic."

Pooja DAMODHARAN, 1st place, SHSS student

"Communication is the foundation of our society. That is why I believe that the COM 1301 public speaking class is one of the most important classes I am taking this semester. It enhances my ability to talk in public, to voice my opinion, and to convince and persuade using the power of words. In this contest, I delivered my persuasive speech to support my position on cheating. Academic dishonesty is addictive; it always gives us simpler and easier ways to avoid our responsibilities. Also, plagiarism is not ethical: by claiming that someone else’s work is ours, we are undervaluing the time and efforts spent on it. In addition, cheating limits our creativity and would lead to injustice toward other classmates."

Zoubida TAGMOUTI, 2nd place, SBA student

"I have always believed that public speaking was a gift rather than an acquired skill, however, just after taking this course, I learned the right way to do public speaking in all its types including introductory, informative, and persuasive. What I was most grateful for was learning how to sell my ideas without lecturing in a brief period. The Public Speaking contest provided an opportunity for me to put what I had learned in the course to test; on the other hand, the topic was very enjoyable, being a student and persuading other students not to plagiarize stood for a unique experience for me."

Racha BOUOFOUSSE, 3rd place, SSHS student

" Of all the courses I have picked this semester, I must say that COM1301 (Public Speaking) with Dr. Latifa Mortaji has been one of the most fun experiences I have gone through in a while. Throughout the semester, I have developed an arsenal of skills revolving around public speaking, from grabbing the attention of the audience and instilling an idea in their minds, to make a few bad jokes that turn out to be a little too good in the extreme. The course material prepared me to deal with various types of speeches (Introductory, Informative, Persuasive, and Special Occasions), and adapt to different settings and audiences. Thanks to Dr. Latifa Mortaji and Professor Sara Maderious, the participants and I had the opportunity to put our skills to the test in a Public Speaking contest whose topic was about cheating and academic dishonesty. Coming from a family of teachers and professors, I have spent my whole life listening to what numerous family members had to say about academic dishonesty given, and I quote, it is the worst part of a career in education. Cheating is not a victimless crime, and it violates every single one of the moral foundations. Its repercussions not only affect the cheater himself, but also all the honest students, faculty members, and the reputation of the university. And while academic dishonesty has played a major role in devaluing education by shedding more light on grades than actual learning, it is not limited to just that. Cheating breeds distrust, with the cheater trying to find ways to cut corners, and their family and friends trying to reassess their views of them. And because cheating cannot and will not be confined to the academic world, we end up with a poorly served society where people who reached positions through cheating may harm the public by underperforming or not performing in the first place. On a final note, I would like to thank the organizers as they showed great confidence in the participants as well as provided guidance to anyone in need."

Mohamed Aymane BOUDAD, 3rd place, SSE student

The Public Speaking Contest organized by the school of Humanities and Social Sciences is an excellent event that clearly demonstrates the importance of organizing contests for college students on a regular basis. Contests challenge and encourage students to use and test skills acquired over the course of a semester. These contests contribute substantially to boosting participants’ confidence, and personal growth, as well as helping them to develop leadership skills.

by Mohamed Aymane BOUDAD, SSE student