While some students excel at speaking in front of larger audiences, there are even more students who do not excel in this area of the classroom. In fact, 74% of people have a phobia of public speaking.
Many majors require at least one communications course be taken in order to transfer to a four year university. Therefore students are required to take and pass a class where the only way to pass the course is to make speeches, participate in group work and give presentations to the class. Usually it is said that the reason for these classes being required is to prepare students for the real world as well as future jobs after college. However this argument is invalid considering the fact that most jobs do not require employees to give presentations infant of audiences.
Furthermore if a person does not enjoy public speaking, it is highly unlikely that the same person would pursue a job where public speaking is a regularly occurring task. People tend to choose professions based upon their comfort level.
Additionally, some people argue that taking a public speaking course would help them to overcome their fear of public speaking. While this may be true, I know from personal experience that just because I have taken a couple of public speaking courses throughout my life, still to this day whenever I am made to speak in front of the class I get nervous and anxiety ridden.
In all honesty public speaking courses should not be a general education requirement, they should be available to students who have a desire to take them and actually need them for their specific major.
One of the more serious downsides to public speaking courses being required, is that for most classes, presentations as well as individual participation are worth a large chunk of a students overall grade. Thus, if a student preforms poorly on a presentation or does not participate regularly in class, this could be detrimental to their overall grade. This means that a students grade in a class can be heavily affected by something that the student may not be able to control.
While taking all of these factors into account, something else to realize, is that most people have a phobia of speaking in public. Most students are able to do work by themselves and prepare for things like exams or personal projects. However the anxiety that comes along with test taking cannot compare to the anxiety coupled with public speaking.
Students should not be forced to take classes that cause them extra stress and anxiety.