Monday, September 29, 2014

How One Professor, One Student and One Class Showed that One Dollar Can Change the World

Huffington Post - Education
September 29th, 2014

Speech Professor Tammy Voigt is a favorite among students at Indiana University Southeast. With a rare 5.0 score on RateMyProfessors.com, it's no wonder undergrads flock to her classes, but even this veteran instructor can still be surprised by her students now and then.
Junior level speech class, SP 324 -- Persuasion, has always opened with a warm-up speech. The goal for this assignment is for students to use the persuasive techniques that come naturally to them prior to diving into a curriculum of theory and techniques to identify where they could improve their rhetorical skills. In the past, these speeches were hypothetical in nature ("What would you do with a million dollars?"), which never seemed to be fully effective -- students were not personally invested in the process (beyond a letter grade), nor did it feel "real" to them.
So this year, Professor Voigt asked each student to bring in one dollar, which was put into an envelope, then she added a few bucks to round up to $25. This time, it was real money -- their money -- on the table. The assignment was for each student to present a persuasive discourse about why he or she deserved the cash, with the class voting and the winning speaker getting it all (and no, no one was allowed to vote for themselves).

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