Teaching Public Speaking
Public speaking is the bedrock of the undergraduate curriculum in most departments of speech and communication. It occupies roughly the same place in relation to historical, critical, and theoretical inquiry in rhetoric and communication research as does written composition in relation to the study of literature in departments of English. It is also a subject of exceedingly rich lineage. Taught more or less continuously in Western civilization since the days of ancient Greece, it has engaged the energies of such thinkers as Aristotle, Plato, Isocrates, Cicero, Quintilian, Saint Augustine, Francis Bacon, Hugh Blair, Richard Whately, James Rush, and Edward Channing.