If you want to call it an art, it certainly can get in the poetic,” he said.
“We practice the craft of gauging an audience, which is artistic.” Though the music of the words may very well define spoken rhetoric as an art, students and faculty also note rhetoric’s practicality and pre-professional purposes. Scanlon ’18, a previous student of Expos 40, sees spoken rhetoric as almost universally useful.
One such course, on offer at all three schools, is “The Arts of Communication.” Timothy P. Cohen, who holds a faculty appointment at the Harvard Extension School, where he teaches “Oral Communication In the Workplace,” splits spoken rhetoric into two components.
Mc Carthy ’93, an Adjunct Lecturer on public policy at the Kennedy School, teaches six sections of the course this semester. “On a basic level, there’s what you say and how you say it.
In fact, over 200 students get turned away from the class each semester. “We have between 250 and 300 students each semester who want to apply, who do apply.
But we can only choose five sections, no more than 70 or 80 people.” Students who have taken the class see its value as part of the undergraduate education, but are split on the issue of whether such a rhetoric class should be required.
In addition to delivering three speeches throughout the semester, students practice impromptu speaking, analyze famous speeches, and write their own.
“I think because our class is a practicum, we practice the craft.
Since Expos 40 is the only rhetoric class at the college, however, and she was not chosen for the lottery until after this internship, Dias-Jayasinghe had had little opportunity to practice her spoken rhetoric in a classroom setting before she had to give her presentation.
Dias-Jayasinghe is not alone in her experience with Expos 40’s lottery process.