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Abstract

As many new English and Speech instructors quickly realize, their first teaching contract will most certainly include forensic extra-curricular activities. By the simple virtue of training to become fine arts teachers, administrators and principals may assign the coaching of Debate, One Act Plays or Oral Interpretation to their contracts, even though the individual may have had no experience in any of those activities. In my first secondary school contract, I was required to coach Oral Interpretation, three One Act Plays and the spring All School Play. My drama background consisted of a knowledge and appreciation for Shakespeare, yet with no performance experience at all. However, after my first precarious year of coaching, I became addicted to directing the Oral Interpretation program. I now look back on my 30 years of coaching Oral Interp as the most rewarding and memorable experience of my entire teaching career. Oral Interpretation provides the students the chance to 1) showcase their artistic expression, 2) learn control over physical and facial expressions, gestures, voice and movement, 3) better understand literature and the author’s purpose and intent, 4) indulge in unlimited creative possibilities, 5) be competitive by practicing until the character becomes perfect (or real) and 6) achieve individual and team success. Directing the Sioux Valley High School (SVHS) Oral Interpretation team in Volga, SD, has been a blessing in disguise and afforded me with memories of hundreds of outstanding performances.

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