Would You Rather…the Dentist or a DBA?

Blog_Public_SpeakingChances are that if you ask someone if they’d rather have dental work done or speak in front of an audience, that person will probably have to take a moment to think about it.

According to many studies, the idea of speaking in public or making a presentation ranks extremely high on the anxiety scale.

Along those lines, we’ve heard from many of our students that they are apprehensive when it comes to their discussion-based assessment, commonly known as a DBA. For those not familiar with the DBA, it is a verbal conversation between a student and teacher to discuss what he/she has learned in the modules.

If this is you, you can take some comfort in the simple fact you are not alone.

Have you ever watched someone talk in public and think, “Man, they are great—so relaxed and natural. I wish I could speak like that.” While it’s true that some have a natural gift for gab and their conversations seem effortless, it is quite possible that they had to learn to overcome their nervousness. Speaking professionally in a public setting, is a skill that must be developed and fine-tuned. And this takes time.

Here’s a secret…

I have been a communications professional for more than 20 years, yet I was once terrified to raise my hand or to even make a phone call when I was younger. No joke. Given this, it’s a bit strange to say that my first job was on the phone conducting radio research (“Hi, my name is Suzan and I’m not selling anything…”). Before I dialed each number (and I had a hefty quota of how many calls I needed to make in an hour), I would have to take a deep breath, or two, or three to try to stop my heart from pounding so bad. It was that bad; I was beyond nervous.

What comes naturally for some people can cause panic attacks in others, and anxiety has some very real physical responses. I took speech class as an elective in my freshmen year of high school. I survived. I then took it a step further and joined the Speech Club and began to compete on weekends (because I wasn’t athletically inclined?). I found I did better in the prepared orations category while a few of my friends thrived at extemporaneous speaking. I was taught some techniques to help with nervousness, which actually helped a lot.

I pushed myself to do it, and I’m glad I did. It’s served me well, and to this day, I still can’t help but notice if a person says too many “ums” or “ahs” while talking, as this was something I was judged and marked off for when competing.

FLVS students can rest in the knowledge that during a scheduled DBA, your teacher is simply seeking to make sure that you understand the material. He or she simply wants to have a conversation with you to hear your voice and test your knowledge. DBAs also help strengthen the relationship between you and your teacher. Communicating with your instructor is a natural way to practice those public speaking skills.

Speaking in front of an audience may not be a profession you choose, and it is certainly not for everyone, but everyone converses with others. Even in our heavily digital-based society, we are all communicators.  Honing verbal communication skills takes time, patience, and practice. Do I still get nervous when it’s time to present? Heck yeah! But being prepared and realizing that I’m speaking to others who are human and have fears too, makes it all a bit more manageable.

Join us next week for a live Q&A about DBAs

To help give you a better understanding of the DBA and why it’s important, we’re going Live on Facebook, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at 4 p.m. Join Ms. Ahlschwede, lead high school English instructor, and Ms. Nelson, lead Peer Counseling instructor, for this informative talk. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, too. We’re excited to hear from you and hope you’ll join the conversation.

Then, the next time you play “Would you rather” and it’s between the dentist or a DBA, you’ll know to pick the DBA.

Post by Suzan Kurdak, former FLVS Communications Specialist

16 comments on “Would You Rather…the Dentist or a DBA?

  1. Bannlabear


  2. Julianne

    I do not get scared when doing DBAs that much anymore and I would definitely not want to go to the dentist.But what are some tips to not sound nervous when talking?

  3. Alena

    I usually get terrified before DBA’s. I procrastinate and procrastinate until I have to get it over with. In certain classes it’s not an issue but some of my teachers are intimidating to answer to when they ask questions. What should I do to feel better?


      Take a deep breath! It’s okay to let your teacher know you’re a little nervous. This can help to ease the tension and your teacher will make sure they are giving you the support and time you need to answer. 🙂

  4. Skylar

    I think DBA’s shouldn’t be a thing. It makes online school scary which it’s not supposed to be. Everyone hates them, and everyone gets nervous and scared. There should be other ways to do it, where the student doesn’t have it talk to the teacher. It makes me want to go back to school just because of DBAs. I Don’t know how to calm myself down before them.

    1. Aj

      Just remember to breath and you can let the teacher know you’re nervous. Next time have flash cards or just noted in front of you that you know. YOU GOT IT?

  5. Jeremy

    Yeah i’m going with the dentist on this one. The difference between a DBA and the dentist is that the dentist is actually essential. DBA’s just put unnecessary stress and anxiety on students. DBA’s really shouldn’t be a thing.

  6. John

    Definitely going to the dentist. DBAs are the bane of my existence and they should not exisist. I would rather have 43 surgeries than do a freaking DBA. Please get rid of these — there’s literally no good aspect about them.

  7. Anonymous

    I have terrible social anxiety, and the idea of DBAs are very demotivating and harsh. Doing a whole lesson’s work just for it to lead up to that one phone call encourages me to not do the assignments in the first place. I’ll have breakdowns thinking about the Discussion Based Assessments, yet there’s no way around them. I feel for other students who are suffering from the same dilemma.


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