To support with Miss Fullerton’s whole-school Oracy Week from 23rd – 27th April, our Year 10 students were given the opportunity to take part in a ‘Talk About Communication’ workshop to improve their spoken English, public speaking and presentation skills, delivered by the fantastic staff from Talk the Talk, a UK-based charity who work with young people in schools to help them feel more confident about speaking professionally in front of large groups of people!
The day started with the students broken down in to their form groups and introduced to their trainers for the day – to the students’ surprise, there were no tables laid out for them and no technology involved in the sessions at all, as the main aim of the workshop was to get students talking! The students were first asked to rate themselves on a scale of 0-10 based on how confident they felt about public speaking – although there were certainly a few bold individuals amongst the groups, the general consensus was that public speaking is not generally an enjoyable activity for our students, something the trainers were determined to change by the end of the day!
Throughout the rest of the day, the students learned more about where they might use public speaking in the future (meetings, college/job interviews, debates etc.), how to control their body language to appear more confident and how to use different English language techniques such as repetition, imagery and rhetorical questions to draw in their audience and deliver fantastic spoken word presentations on a variety of topics, from stating their opinions to describing a friend!
The workshop culminated with all of the students being asked to prepare a short presentation on a topic they were passionate about, using all of the tips and tricks they had gained throughout the day. Although it is fair to say that there were more than a few nerves on display approaching the final task, the students excelled themselves, with heartfelt, engaging and well-structured presentations delivered on a variety of topics, including body image, gender equality, legal rights, career aspirations and the ethics of media, to name but a handful!
The overall feedback from the students involved was extremely positive, with many of our Year 10s progressing at least 3 or 4 points on the 0-10 scale by the end of the day regarding their confidence in public speaking and one student even noting that ‘we should do much more stuff like this!’. Our students also received glowing feedback from the trainers from Talk the Talk, who noted not only our students’ excellent behaviour but also their character, which shone through in the fantastic presentations that they delivered. One trainer even stated that these were ‘some of the best presentations I have seen in my time on this programme’, which is high praise indeed for an organisation that works with schools all over the UK!
Both students and staff alike were left buzzing from the workshop and we hope to welcome Talk the Talk back to TRGA again on a regular basis, so that all of our year groups are able to experience the benefit of taking part in the public speaking sessions and improve their confidence, communication and presentation skills.
For now, we hope that Year 10 will continue to use what they have learned and ‘Talk the Talk’ more confidently as they approach their final year at TRGA!