Student Speeches

13 Apr

 

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The NCEA speech format has changed so little from the time I went to school when we did it under the guise of School Cert or UE. Most schools have each child get up in front of their class and then the best speakers then are selected to stand in front of the school on speech night .
And the marking schedule. Teachers crouch around a video camera and moderate these speeches. Has the student used repetition, rhetorical questions, quotes and statistics? Check, cross, check, check. There are strict rules about time. Did you know it’s a NA if you don’t make time? Don’t overuse your cards. Hand gestures and the odd dramatic pause thrown in for good measure. Our girls are something else at this.
What makes a good speech?
Instead of having of going the usual route of having students sit through Martin Luther King Jr talking about having a dream, Kennedy going to the moon and Churchill fighting on the beaches then analyse each one for rhetorical devices I always look for something different.
I have an appreciation of oratory and these speeches are quite rightly iconic. However these men were leaders of nations and movements over 50 years ago their lives and their language is far removed from the young women sitting in classrooms in Taranaki.
What made these speeches good?
My students decided that speeches were good because the speaker was sharing a passion, an interest or telling a story. As a teacher the most memorable speeches were the ones when students shared something about themselves that we might not hear. My students agree.
I like to get students to do some peer marking. They are more insightful than you might think.
On speech night I was overwhelmed by the topics chosen: Death, Girls and Boys, Marketing, Alzheimer’s, being different, social media and Boys.
The speeches I wanted to hear were those that didn’t make the final. Those students who achieved by just doing it. Those students might not have been good enough to make Speech Night but there were so many kids who bought their best selves to speeches this year.
And that’s what any teacher should be aiming for.

Professional Reading:

I found this resource this week. An outstanding resource for on Pasika peoples:

10 things you need to know about Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa (dispelling some common myths about the Pacific)

Here are excellent resources to think about when referring to students feedback:

The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students
The Difference Between Praise and Feedback is from MindShift.
Tips for Giving Feedback is from Elena Aguilar.
How to Turn Praise into Acknowledgment is by Marvin Marshall.

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