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‘Youth Speaks’ Helps Develop Public Speaking Skills

14 January 2015

This week saw our Year 9s take part in our third annual BISS Puxi Youth Speaks contest. This competition is based on The Rotary Youth Speaks Competition, which is the premium public speaking contest in the UK and attracts thousands of entries each year. Miss Treeby tells us how it went.

  • Year 9 students at BISS Puxi presenting in the annual Youth Speaks competition.

Students giving their presentations and bottom right hand corner, Miss mitchell's winning group.

Youth Speaks comprises of teams of three speakers:

  • Chairperson who manages the team
  • Main Speaker who delivers the key note speech
  • Vote of Thanks who comments on the speech and offers thanks to the team, the judging panel and the audience

It’s a team event and is under timed conditions with formal rules. The idea is that students give their perspective on issues they feel strongly about such as the use of social networking, the media, travel, stereotyping and so on.

In English we place an emphasis on giving our students the opportunity to develop their confidence, self-expression and fluent articulation of ideas so that they can be successful communicators. This is a vital skill for students to develop, as the IB Diploma course requires individual formal oral presentations.

The teams had to write their speeches - for the main speaker this is around 1,000 words. Each team had roughly ten minutes to deliver their speeches in front of the whole of Year 9 and the judging panel of Mr Share, Mr Lancaster and Miss Treeby.

Miss Mitchell’s group spoke about beauty and how we are becoming too obsessed with it and where this may lead. Miss Rhodes’ group presented on the topic of evolution and what may happen to humans in the future. Miss Powter’s group looked at creativity, what hinders it and how to keep it alive and finally Miss Wright’s group looked at the interesting topic of the danger of selfies.

There were some outstanding performances and the judges had a tough job on their hands picking winners. Congratulations to the winners listed below, and a big well done to all the participants.

  • Best Individual Chair: Maja Fleck-Baustian
  • Best Individual Speaker: Jade Chen
  • Best Individual Vote of Thanks: Arabella McCausland
  • Best Youth Speaks Team: Miss Mitchell’s group: Juliette Bunbury (Chair), Rebecca Peedle (Speaker) and Angelica Ngai (Vote of Thanks)

- Gemma Treeby, Head of English

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