Public speaking is a big hit at Heathfield Community College

23rd June

Max and Amelia are busy reviewing their notes

Many adults find public speaking a challenging prospect. School age pupils even more so. To help give students valuable experience the school organised for Speakers For Schools to lead a day long workshop. It was hoped that this would scaffold Year 10 students’ response to public speaking into preparing and presenting in front of their peers at Heathfield Community College , East Sussex.

As an important part of building self-esteem and leadership, the College created time and space for a lead facilitator to build workshops that showed students how to connect with their topic, coach each other and ultimately deliver a speech successfully.

As soon as it is possible the six year 10s (pictured) believed to have been the most impressive in the workshop will compete to represent Heathfield in a Sussex wide public speaking competition.

The top six speakers judged to go through to the competition stage

One of the participants, Nathan Steel offers his response to the experience:

“The workshop was an excellent way for students to learn how to structure, prepare and deliver a speech. The course was designed around the idea of intriguing and encapsulating the audience’s attention by using methods such as hand gestures, tonality of your voice and stage presence.

“The workshop is designed to get students to work with each other in order to build up confidence, clarity and content. It worked off the back of many casual, personal experiences which made it very comfortable to speak about – especially considering that most students will be familiar with each other.

“The instructor guides you through certain interactive exercises to get you familiar with the certain logistics of good speech. They tend to throw you into the deep end from the first few minutes to get you over those first few, beginner’s nerves. But, once you start to warm up to the art of speaking, you really get that boost of confidence and clarity that there’s nothing to be fearful about.

“The workbook is chock-a-block with useful diagrams, pictures and ideas to help structure and conjure up ideas with writing frames to guide you toward clear and precise choices.

“Overall, the workshop is extremely beneficial to those who put the effort into it. You walk away feeling full of experience like a saturated sponge to help you for future projects and scenarios in the future!”

Headteacher, Caroline Barlow commented “We are very grateful to Speakers for Schools for this ongoing work with our students, it was wonderful to see the student’s confidence grow throughout the day. This generation have the talent and energy to become impressive leaders. We need to hear what they have to say and it is our privilege to help them develop the skills they will need in later life.”