Monday, April 21, 2014

CPR for Norah's Speech

From the moment Norah walked to the front of the room, I felt as though I was in the room at her mother’s birthday celebration as she intimately and powerfully delivered a tribute to her mother and their unique and multi-faceted relationship. In her tribute, she talked about good times and bad, revealing a profoundly human dimension that made the speech relatable rather than merely portraying the relationship as flawless. The raw emotion that Norah revealed during certain parts of the speech was incredibly moving and a testament to the depth of her love for her mother.

Happy birthday, Mom…
Norah speaks
And delivers
A beautiful tribute.
She tells us about 
her mom as a person
as well as 
She tells us about
the happy times
the playful insults
the hard parts
and the
Tears formed in my eyes
as her voice
and she fought back
of her own.
Happy birthday, Mom.

Overall, there were many moments of effectiveness throughout Norah’s speech. Her voice projects well, which was maintained throughout the speech. She had a script, which clearly helped her but was not a distraction, as she was able to transform her use of the script into a more extemporaneous style of speaking. Her delivery and emotion were incredibly real and genuine, which captivated the audience. I did not find many moments of distraction throughout the speech. The main one was when she apologized to the audience while tearing up. Although I understand that such an apology is intuitive and seems appropriate in a public context, if this happens during a future speech, I would allow the emotion to simply show itself while refraining from apologizing to the audience.

Alexander advocates for using a poetic/artistic response to evaluate student performances for a variety of reasons. In terms of reflexivity, he argues that such a method of response fundamentally allows for greater reflexivity in the classroom, both in evaluating one’s own work as well as that of others. CPR brings attention to the performative nature of certain assignments, and helps students maintain cognizance of this facet. It also allows students to realize “how and why” they have received a certain grade, both in cases of satisfactory and unsatisfactory grades, with greater detail and a different perspective from simply receiving a letter grade. CPR clearly allows for providing constructive criticism as well as alternate ideas for improving future assignments, while helpfully expanding upon the traditional grading structure.


  1. Yeah I'm with you on this one. I definitely felt like I was in the room celebrating her mother's birthday as well. There definitely is that "raw emotion" present within her tribute and you can see through her words and natural body language that she genuinely takes her mother's actions and intentions to heart.

  2. I completely agree when you stated that the raw emotion that Norah shared with our class is something that took her tribute speech to a whole new level. She was able to be vulnerable and truly share the relationship that her and her mother shared with a group of people that she may not know outside of the classroom.

  3. Thank you all so much! I really appreciate all of your honesty and support :)