The spoken and written language is one of humanity’s most treasured assets. Language affords us the power to interact, to fulfill our basic needs, and even to think. Throughout education, a great deal of emphasis is placed on this treasure of ours, but unfortunately, there remains a large percentage of the population which is unable to write or speak at a level appropriate to their occupation or mental capability. The finer art of linguistics manages to get lost amidst the math, science, and other subjects in school, and for most, it is that fine art which will prove most beneficial throughout their lives. Therefore, I propose that a year-long course, divided equally into basic, conventional English and public speaking be mandatory for graduating high school students.
From the moment we enter kindergarten, we start writing. First the alphabet, then words, then sentences and finally stories in every level of education what we put down on paper becomes monumental and the most well-rounded display of our aptitude for any given subject. However, after a certain period of time, students begin to make the most simple conventional errors and many teachers are slow to correct them. Rules of writing, such as where to put quotation marks or how to avoid split infinitives and dangling participles, evolve into mere suggestions, and they are never truly learned by most students. It would stand to reason, then, that a course be designed for high school students which would teach them these basics and train them for whatever they may face after their secondary education. Whether or not they enter college is unimportant; any person who can write well has a better chance of succeeding in whatever their trade. However, because the spoken word is ju! st as important as, if not more important than the written word, the second semester should be dedicated to public speaking.
Every day, we are faced with the necessity to converse with others, whether it be within a group of friends, with teachers, or with prospective customers and business partners. One who can speak eloquently earns often earns more respect than the person who is unable to put their thoughts into words on demand. Once again, it is not the post-secondary education or lack thereof which is important, but the future of the life the student wishes to live. Everyone, from the uneducated to the college professor, should be able to converse in a clear, concise, and conversational manner, no matter what the situation. In high school especially, these skills are taken for granted and very few are given the opportunity to learn how to speak in any manner higher than utterly informal.
Due to our seeming inability to properly use the language available to us, I would like to see a class in conventional English and public speaking as a required course in high school. It is one of the few classes that would benefit every person who would take it.