Debating-Speeches-Oral Presentations

     

I love teaching  debating, speeches and oral presentations. It really prepares the students for the oral presentations and to write speeches for the functional writing section on paper 1 of the English Junior Cert. It helps the students to foster their creativity, confidence, vocabulary, grammar, communication skills, organisational skills and to think critically.

As my school is ASTI, I have not been able to go to any of the English Junior Cycle induction days.  However, I have self-taught myself using a range of websites. English in the Junior Cycle aims to expand a students’ knowledge of language and literature, deepen their literacy skills and make them more self-aware as learners, creativity and teach them to think critically. Debating, speeches and oral presentations help students to foster ‘control over English using it and responding to it with purpose and effect through the interconnected literacy skills of oral language, reading and writing’.

The six Key Skills of the Junior Cycle are evident in debating, speeches and oral presentations. You must be creative as debating demands you to think on your feet. Debating develops literacy as you are practicing oral presentations and you are using a solid vocabulary. You are being numerate as you are keeping track of time. You are communicating with others and also working with others as you must communicate with your team members to prepare a good argument and then debate against members of the opposition or by delivering a speech/oral presentation in front of your peers. ‘The English classroom is a place of talk and discussion. Students enjoy frequent opportunities to debate, to adopt a point of view and defend it. They learn to communicate by writing in a range of forms and for many purposes.’ [1] You are managing information and thinking as you must structure your argument.  You are staying well as you are communicating with others and by participating in an oral presentation, you are growing in confidence.

There are many activities you can do for these topics!

  1. Walking debate

Students no matter what age love this activity. Write ‘Strongly agree’, ‘Agree’, ‘Strongly disagree’ and ‘Disagree’ on different sheets of paper. Stick the sheets of paper on different sides of the room.  Get all the students to stand up. Now call out statements and tell the students to go and stand beside the poster that portrays their view.  Give the students a minute to decide where they are going. Once the students are in front of their chosen statement. Ask a number of students why they have picked that statement.

  1. Traffic light debate

This works the same as the walking debate above except you must put the colours red, green and orange on different walls in the classroom.  You must explain to the students that green means agree, orange means neutral and red means disagree. Like the walking debate, you call out statements and the students stand beside the colour which matches their opinion.

  1. Statements

You write a statement on the whiteboard and then you ask the students to agree or disagree with this statement and to write down 5 reasons to back up their point. This is a really good exercise as it helps the students to develop opinions and also to develop reasons thus meaning they fully understand why they agree or why they do not agree with a given statement. It is a great starter exercise to prepare the students for debating.

  1. Class debating

 

     

Make two groups of 4 students each. Pick  a chairperson, three adjudicators and one timekeeper.  The rest of the class will be the audience. Rotate this daily so each student gets a turn. Write a statement on the whiteboard such as ‘Should all schools be single sex?’. Tell each group to decide who in their group is going to go:

1st– Introduction

2nd- Middle

3rd. Middle

4th-Conclusion

Each speaker in the group will speak for 2 minutes each which means that each group will speak for 8 minutes.

The adjudicator will control the meeting. The timekeeper will time the students. They must make the students aware of the first 30 minutes and the last 30 seconds.

 

 

  1. School debating competition

You can either invite other schools to come into your school and thus have a debating competition with one school or many schools. Get the students to help you organise it, this will improve their communication and organisational skills.

6. Speeches

 

Tell the students that each of them must write a speech and present it in front of the class. Topics can be

  • ‘Imagine you are the new principal of your school, write your first speech welcoming everyone and outlining what your leadership will be like.
  • ‘Imagine you are the running for class president, write a speech outlining what you will implement if you win.
  • ‘Imagine you are a second year student who has been chosen to give advice to 1styear pupils about how to survive 1st Write the speech you would give the first years.
  • ‘Imagine you are setting up a new extracurricular activity in school. Write the speech you would give to the students in your school to encourage them to join’.
  • ‘You want a half day on Wednesdays at school, write the speech you would give to encourage your principal to implement this change’.
  • ‘We should be allowed wear whatever we want.’ (Caityn Jenner and the transgender community are topical news stories).

  • ‘The importance of school uniforms for equality’.

 

 

WHAT NOT TO DO- INTERRUPT SOMEONE DURING THEIR SPEECH

  1. Grammar 

 

 

Split the students into groups and give each group an envelope of statements. In each envelope there will be 15 statements.  I will give each group 2 boxes. The 1stbox will say ‘Debating statements’ and the second box will say ‘Grammar errors’.

The students must work together in their group and decide what box each statement goes in. This is a really good activity to test the students’ grammar. Some of the statements will feature slang as I want the students to learn that they must not use slang. The Junior Cycle aims ‘to gain an understanding of the grammar and conventions of English and how they might be used to promote clear and effective communication’.

 

     

  

 

8. Oral presentations

Do this one day a week so the students will have a routine. For example every Friday. Each week give the students a topic to research, write about and then present in front of their class. Sample topics are my favourite animal, my favourite hobby, an inspirational person, a book review, a film review, a music album review, my favourite singer, my favourite band, my favourite sports team, my favourite celebrity, a great charity, a news story from a newspaper, why it is good to live in Ireland, what it means to be Irish, a student presents on country of their choice, its culture and literature and the stereotypes we need to cast off to truly understand the country, the students conduct interviews on others, the benefits of using technology in education and the student writes their own poem and presents it to the class.

 

9. Unseen pictures

Split the students into groups. Using unseen pictures, each group will argue a point. Each group must use each picture, thinking of a way it can support their argument.

[1] file:///C:/Users/lisa-_000/Downloads/JCEnglish-Spec_Oct-4_2015-(1)_2.pdf

RESOURCES

    

 

 

Debating power point Introduction- Debating power point 1

Debating power point 2Debating power point two

Agree/Disagree/Strongly Agree/Strongly Disagree statements for walking debateAgree disagree strongly agree strongly disagree statements for walls

Debating worksheet– Debating for or against template

Debating topics handoutDebating topics

Debating motions handout- Motions

Ship debate handout– Ship Debate

Speech tips handoutsSPEECHES tips

Scoring sheet for a debateDebate scoring sheet

Speech planning sheet-Planning Sheet for speeches

Persuasive speech worksheetPlanning Speech Persuasive Speeches

Biography power pointWriting a Biography power point.

Glossary handout for inspirational person oral presentation- Glossary for inspirational person oral presentation.

Differences between a autobiography and biography handout- Differences between a biography and an autobiography.

Biography sheet for inspirational person oral presentationInspirational person handout

Biography features handout for oral presentation- Features of biography.

Biography template for oral presentation- Biography template

Roald Dahl oral presentation example– A Biography of Roald Dahl

Book review oral presentationBook review

Film review for oral presentationWriting_a_Film_Review

I HOPE THIS BLOG WILL HELP YOU.  IT WILL DEVELOP ORAL LITERACY, CONFIDENCE, CLARITY OF THINKING, RESEARCH SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE. 

Inspirational video- Lessons from a Teacher

I love this video! It is great advice from an exceptional teacher. 

Here are some of the lessons that she has taught me!

  1. ‘Teaching is the best job because of the relationships you establish and the influence you can have. That is what you are there for’.

2. ‘A lot of time you can learn as much from the kids as they do from you’.

3. The highs are so much better than the lows you are going to experience’.

4. ‘It is a learning experience for you and its going to be every year that you teach’.

 

‘The power of teaching is that you can and do influence so many other  lives. You are not there to impart facts and figures. The whole thing is to foster relationships with people’.

 

 

What do children teach us..

Before I become a teacher, I never realised that students would teach me lessons. I just presumed I would teach them and that was the end of it. Since starting my first teaching job this year, I have realised how much students teach us. Learning goes both ways! I am learning so much about life from them. I feel really privileged to be able to work with young people every day.

  1. Honesty – Young people are brutally honest. Whether it is positive or negative they will tell you how it is. The students have taught me how important honesty is!
  2. Be yourself– Be proud of who you are and do not change for anyone. I see this with 1st years but sadly sometimes it is not as prominent with older years as they tone themselves down to feel ‘accepted’ or ‘fit in’.
  3. Humour– Young people are hilarious. My classes make me laugh everyday. It is important to not take yourself seriously and to have a laugh with your students. Learning should be fun not dreary.
  4. To not judge people based on their origin or the colour of the skin – A few weeks ago I was reading ‘The Field’ by John B. Keane with my 3rd years and my students would not read the word ‘tinker’ or ‘traveller’ aloud as they did not want to offend one of their peers in their class. Also students do not care what colour your skin is, they just care if you are a good person or not. 
  5. To be happy for no reason
  6. Being a role model– If you are a good person and you try your best. The students will think you are amazing. They look up to you. You are a role model to them.
  7. Care– Students will know whether you really care about them or not. They are not stupid.
  8. Acceptance- The students will accept you and each other for who they are. They realise no-one is perfect. Incredibly mature!
  9. Fearless– Young people are so fearless. They leap without looking and they are not afraid to take chances.
  10. Curiosity– Young people love to ask questions. I get asked a million questions a day. I thought it would be just 1st years asking me questions but 6th years ask a lot of questions too. Some you will not be able to answer. For example while reading ‘The Plough and the Stars’ with my 6th years, one student asked me ‘Did Nora have many boyfriends before Jack?’. Sean O Casey did not say, he only mentions Jack and that Brennan used to have a thing for her. For the questions you should know the answer too but you do not then just be honest. Tell the students you will find out tonight and tell them tomorrow or else ask them to find out for homework. The students have taught me to never stop asking questions in life.