Speaking Up: Years 5 – 8 Students Take the Stage

Developing robust public speaking abilities is crucial for high school students as they transition into the professional realm. According to employability experts at Inspira, communication skills top the list of traits most prized by employers (2024). This week, hosting an Interhouse Public Speaking competition for our Years 5 to 8 students offered an ideal platform to cultivate these vital skills.

The Format

This competition provides students with the opportunity to accumulate valuable points for the McAuley Shield. The winning House will be revealed later in the year.

Students had two categories to choose from: Spoken Word and Traditional Public Speaking.

In the Spoken Word category, participants could recite or read poetry of their choice. The other option was Traditional Public Speaking, where students delivered persuasive speeches on topics they were passionate about, typically lasting between two and a half to three minutes.

Public Speaking Topics: 

Years 5 & 6 

  1. Laughter is the best medicine. 
  2. What human quality do we need more of and why?
  3. My biggest concern for the future is…

Years 7 & 8 

  1. Goals are good for you. 
  2. Technology has helped connect people not isolate them.
  3. Should scientists bring extinct species back to life? 

Spoken Word Themes 

Years 5 & 6 

  1. Seasons 

Years 7 & 8 

  1. New beginnings

What the adjudicators had to say: 

We spoke to adjudicator Carolyn Sharp, Head of Admissions, about what she thought of the speeches. She shared, “It takes bravery to stand before an audience and present a speech. I applaud the Years 5 and 6 students who today stretched themselves to be brave. It was a pleasure to listen to their public speaking.”

Grace Westerhout, a Year 12 student and adjudicator, said, ” I loved getting to hear from the Year 5 public speakers and their ideas on the world, including why they think we need more kindness, confidence and empathy. I was very impressed with the passion and confidence they spoke with on their chosen topics. It was clear that each of them put a lot of time and effort into rehearsing their speeches, which was evident in some very close scores that Mrs Sharp and I had to decide on. I was very inspired by their courage to speak for their House, and their hard work certainly paid off.”

Top Tips

The Years 9 – 12 students will have the chance to showcase their public speaking skills in Week 9. To prepare for that, here are some of our top tips for success: 

  1. Ensure a thorough understanding of the topic to confidently handle any questions that may arise. 
  2. Organise your speech with a clear structure to aid in retention.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice – the more you rehearse, the better your performance will be.
  4.  Seek feedback from peers to refine your speech and delivery. 
  5. Rehearse under conditions similar to your performance setting, perhaps setting a timer to meet the criteria. 

Well done to those who participated!

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