Tourettes and Public Speaking



The content of this lesson is centered on a spoken word performance performed  by a young man on HBO’s Brave New Voices (a series focused on illuminating the power of youth poetry) .  This video was found on youtube and can be easily accessed on the internet.


This lesson plan is tailored to high school students in their junior or senior year and students predominantly in lower level classes, alternative schools and special education. Moreover,  this lesson plan would be most beneficial to students working with a speech pathologist.  The entire lesson is focused on speech and learning differences and empowerment through ownership, creativity and self acceptance. As a result, the classroom atmosphere would need to be formal, and a “safe space.” Overall, the presentation of a young person being proud of their disability will be both empowering and unique for most students in these classrooms. Hopefully, each student would leave with a divergent perspective on disability and would reclaim their own power and skillset to succeed not in spite of their disability, but because of their disability.

Goals and Objectives

Schedule of the Lesson (50 minute class):

(1) Watch video as a class (5 minutes)

(2) Write poem about yourself in relation to the poem (15 minutes)

(3) Perform poems in front of class (if students do not want to perform in front of the class they can perform to the  teacher by themselves on a separate date) (30 minutes)

Overall, this lesson plan will incorporate peace education by focusing on multiple intelligences and community building.  Public speaking is a skill that is beneficial and useful for most individuals; however, rarely are students given the opportunity to present or sharpen their speaking skills. As a result, this lesson plan will have each student write a poem about themselves and an asset that many have labeled as negative, but they feel is positive. From there, each student will have the opportunity to share in front of the class or present separately to the student. The teacher can tailor the length of this activity depending on the number of students. As a general note, each student should expect their poem to be about 1 to 2 minutes. Each student will have emot, as well as an activity that boost their public speaking skills.

Furthermore, this lesson plan will incorporate community building by facilitating an activity that promotes active listening, shared experiences and empathy.  Students may hear other stories that relate to their own and will respect the courage of their peers to share potentially vulnerable experiences in their own lives.

4 thoughts on “Tourettes and Public Speaking

  1. What a powerful video and awesome lesson plan you have arranged! I think students will love a video like this. It is a “cool” way to present a challenging topic, and can encourage students to open up about things they may not readily discuss. I appreciate that this video serves as an example since some (or most)students may not be familiar with this format, and that your lesson includes time for the students to write their own personal poem. Self acceptance and empowerment are key traits emphasize with students, and this is a great lesson to promote these traits and encourage students to reclaim their own power to succeed.

  2. I love this lesson idea! I can remember doing a similar thing in class with “I am” poems in middle/high school but the objectives were not as specific or peace education oriented. I will also add this to my tool box of possible lessons to use with students!

    This is a good lesson because it can easily be adapted for any age learners.

  3. I feel like this lesson is an adaptation to the midnight monologues with the inclusion of rhythm and giving students the choice of subject. Encouraging students to be proud of what makes them different is a powerful, and seldom available chance for those who might not “fit in” to show their classmates a side of them that they may never get the chance to see. Fantastic video and great lesson plan!

    Also, for those interested in spoken word, there is a great documentary about the power of slam poetry for inner city schools called “Louder Than a Bomb” –

  4. This video clip has now been bookmarked for use in my classroom. This is perfect for my students – both learning to embrace that which others use to label them as “other” and in the use of rhythm and language.

    Perhaps there is a source out there, but I would like to see the same sort of performance for mental health issues. There is such a social stigma on these issues, but performances such as this one might help challenge the narrative.

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