Using the oracy framework — building physical, cognitive, linguistic, and emotional speaking skills — students learn to speak on any topic and to any audience.
How important do you think it is to start improving your student’s public speaking skills early in their school career? We think public speaking is a vital skill for students to learn early on. The more they practice speaking in front of people, the more confident they will be.
Here is an article we found about School 21, a state-funded, non-selective 4-18 school in Stratford, England. They believe that the ability to speak well is a fundamental life skill.
At School 21, oracy — the ability to speak well — is a core element taught throughout every class, and in every lesson. Starting in the primary grades of this London-based public school, students learn an array of skills to help them become more effective speakers: how to speak in complete sentences, make eye contact, and build on each other’s ideas.
“I remember in primary,” recalls Rummana, a Year 7 student, “I would never say a single word, and when teachers used to pick on me, I used to sit there thinking, ‘Oh, no. Oh, no.’ Because I was too scared to speak to people, and now I feel like I’ve changed, and I like my new self.”
School 21’s secondary students put those oracy skills to use in speeches, where they practice speaking to different real-world audiences.
In Year 7, students speak on a topic about which they’re passionate. The idea is that each student deserves to find his or her voice and learn to use it.
In Year 8, students choose a subject in which they are experts and deliver a speech on that. They have developed their voice, and their focus is now sharing their knowledge.
In Year 9, students speak about a political topic. Their focus has become using their voice to engage with the world.
School 21 teaches students from Reception (pre-K) through Year 11, and will ultimately serve through Year 13.
“We spend a lot of time getting students to speak in different arenas, forums, and environments,” says Rachael Futo, a Year 7 coach, “so that they’re ready and prepared for things like interviews where students who come from public schools often don’t do as well.”
Learn how you can use public speaking as a tool to prepare your students for speaking in different real-world contexts.