Monday, April 21, 2014

CPR - Mohammed's Speech

1. When Mohammed stepped up to the podium, he had his computer and was ready to go. He started off by telling us a story about how he met his best friend and what that friend meant to him. Then Mohammed progressed to tell us what drew them apart: his studies while his friend took a turn for the worse. Mohammed kept adding the pieces of the story for us to imagine it before dropping the ending: his friend committed suicide. Mohammed didn’t stop there though. He had a way to tie this tragedy into a greater story with a moral teaching. Instead of focusing on the negative, Mohammed used funny and vulnerable stories with a mix of facts to have us envision Mohammed’s experience while gaining a lesson throughout the eulogy.

Anticipation ruled over the crowd as it waited on the end of its seat
to hear the words of
a different culture
a different experience.

When the words started, the teller crafted stories of the past.
A diversity like the culture,
but a human connection of friends and jokes.

Was this a tribute? A eulogy? Someone just talking of experience?

The teller crafted his stories
embracing the audience with gentle hands.
A sculpture was made
and hearts felt the struggle of friendship to loneliness and desperation.
Who is this friend? He’s not recognizable anymore.

As the story touched on brotherhood, separation, and the unexpected,
each heart ripped with the strong hands of suicide.
What could have been an ending took a sharp turn
and mended the hearts with a silver lining.
Sewing up the seams with a larger lesson eased the pain,
yet the memory of the event
left all in a dumbing, numbing silence.

3. The speech as a whole was definitely moving and quite a surprise. The casual tone of voice was conversational and welcoming. It would have been really neat to see more of a variation and a little more performance from the speech. There were definitely parts that sunk in with the audience that could have been driven in deeper if given a different tone, one slightly more dramatic.

Mohammed was totally genuine throughout the speech that it made it easy to listen to him. Especially being an international student, Mohammed’s grasp on English and his willingness to talk and improve is inspirational. One piece about the speech that was kind of distracting at first was the use of “like” constantly throughout explanations. It’s hard to kick these fillers, but if they’re pushed aside, the message would be the focus and people wouldn’t get as distracted. Overall, great speech and content! Being more performative would leave an even larger impact!

Discussion: Alexander advocates for using a poetic/artistic response to evaluate student performances because it gets students thinking in a more critical, artistic way. By being able to take on this lens, it makes student reflect from a different state of mind then people usually use: they’re more thoughtful and the lens evokes emotion. Being able to evaluate through poetry and art forces the individual to think using a different part of their brain where creativity and emotion mix to produce a more meaningful critique.


  1. Medal I thought you did a great job in your poetic response part. Your response was captivating, and seemed as if you took a lot of thought when writing it. Each part seemed to have so much emphasis packed into it, it was definitely a moving component. Good job :)

  2. I completely agree with this, and I thought your poetic response was beautiful and very thoughtful. The moral teaching aspect of his speech was particularly captivating to me as well, and I also liked the conversational tone that was nonetheless appropriately somber.

  3. Neda, your poem is admirable. Well done! I appreciate how uplifting and engaging your response is. You definitely captured Mohammed's speech beautifully, as it was exemplified in your poem. I like how you recreated Mohammed's eulogy in your own interpretation and responded by using new vocabulary and ideas to connect with his. I also like how you referred to Mohammed as "the teller." Your poem and response as a whole illuminates fascinating reflection and detail.