Free Debate recently ran two 3-week programs at Auburn High School and Camberwell High School through Boroondara Cares.
At Auburn High School, our trainers worked with a group of approximately 12 student leaders from year seven through to 12. Over the three weeks, the students reviewed the skills they’d learned in the previous Free Debate program, workshopped speeches about things they would change in their communities and refined their speech writing skills. Our trainers also ran confidence workshops where students were encouraged to focus on the delivery of a famous speech rather than its content. As these students have participated in Free Debate training previously, they also took part in 3-on-3 prepared debates, presenting many well-developed arguments with a lot of confidence.
Over at the nearby Camberwell High School, our trainers worked with a slightly less experienced group of 15 students from year 10 to 12, introducing them to Free Debate’s mission, as well as our three Cs – confidence, content and clarity. Over the three weeks, students also participated in a Russian roulette debate activity and focussed on understanding the difference between new and old content. The training culminated with students delivering prepared speeches, showcasing the skills they had learned and presenting a variety of interesting ideas.
Students from both schools participated in the programs with great enthusiasm and performed exceptionally well.
Free Debate has concluded two separate programs run in conjunction with Foundation Boroondara. Each program consisted of three sessions. At Camberwell High School, this program involved around ten students, and was aimed at developing students from a variety of public speaking background levels. Students examined the mechanics of developing a high-impact speech from beginning to end, delivering a number of speeches across the week with marked improvements. At the newly opened Auburn High School, students delivered speeches and were offered constructive criticism, as well as being encouraged to consider how their public speaking skills could be applied in their community. All students rose to the challenges presented exceptionally well, presenting thoughtful and considerate speeches on a variety of topics.
Free Debate were once again involved in the broader leadership program run by the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights (AMWCHR). Working within a context of a broader program aimed at empowering young Lebanese Alawites, participants worked in small groups with trainers, receiving individual feedback on speeches after a lengthy discussion on high impact manner. Speech topics focused around change in the community, with participants choosing to speak on topics ranging from the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme to residency status rights. Trainers were thrilled to return to the centre, and look forward to working with the AMWCHR soon!
Free Debate trainers were thrilled to return to Camberwell High, working Foundation Boroondara to provide public speaking training to a group of ten students. Participants learnt about the different elements of building a speech. Each student delivered a quick presentation centred around what they would would change about their school if they had the opportunity. Topics ranged from the amount of time devoted to individual students, to the need for teachers to be more consultative, to the abolition of homework. The speeches were funny, heartfelt and well considered, and Free Debate looks forward to working with the group in the near future.
Continuing our relationship with The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Free Debate delivered a session on high impact speaking to a new group of community, youth and student speakers. Trainers delivered a session with a focus on the most effective use of manner as a means of communicating the ASRCÕs key messages. Participants heard about techniques relating to a variety of audience. Each member of the session then delivered a short speech, relating their reasons for volunteering with the ASRC. The speeches canvassed a wide range of personal experiences, and showed a strong commitment to social justice, alongside successful integration of the sessionÕs techniques.
In November 2013, the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights (AMWCHR) enlisted the help of Free Debate to deliver public speaking training to around 15 young men and women from the Alawi community in Melbourne. The training was part of a project organised by AMWCHR called ‘Speaking Across the Sectarian Divide’, which aimed to develop leadership capacity in the Muslim Alawi, Alevi and Sunni youth communities in Melbourne, and encourage them to become leaders in building an inclusive Muslim community that is respectful and celebratory of difference. Over the course of a Sunday afternoon, Carmel Wallis, Lynn Featonby, Sam Whitney and Miranda Anwar from Free Debate trained the participants on how to deliver an engaging and effective speech in public by improving the style, structure and content of the speech. Each participant was then given two opportunities to practice their public speaking skills; once in a small group and once in front of all other participants. All participants rose to the challenge and delivered well-structured speeches on a topic of their choice in an engaging manner.
Free Debate members ran a facilitated session for Teach For AustraliaÕs recruits as part of the TransformED conference. Focusing on the question ÒWhat levers are most important in transforming outcomes for disadvantaged students?Ó members of the conference worked with experts from a variety of fields relating to education. Each group advocated for their assigned field, arguing passionately that either government, community, principals or teachers were best placed to effect change for disadvantaged students. The session concluded with the participants voting for the group they found most convincing, via a poll accessed on the Free Debate website.
FreeDebate’s Annual Enabling Day was held earlier last month. Feedback from attendees was largely positive. Less than 5% of feedback was negative, rating a session as boring, useless, less relevant or uninteresting around 5% of feedback was neutral, around 10% of feedback indicated a session was not attended or recalled and around 80% of feedback was positive, rating the session as above average, relevant and/or interesting. Special thanks goes out to our guest speakers Amit Golder and Nita Rao who delivered outstanding presentations on the day.
In the second of two sessions today, ESL-background students attending a pronunciation class with Adult Multicultural Education Services broke new ground in their ability to confidently communicate and speak in front of an audience. Last week, students rose to the challenge of focussing on confident presentation despite feelings of nervousness and language difficulties, whilst conducting a persuasive speech centred around something they would like to change in the world. This week, students took their skills to the next level. They provided signposted speeches with reasoned content in a passionate, responsive and engaging debate about the pros and cons of vegetarianism.
FD held its Annual Enabling Day, drawing participants from a diverse range of backgrounds including those with teaching, coaching, public speaking, debating, volunteer and partnership interests. Experienced FD and guest speakers covered topics such as advanced manner tactics, how to introduce novices to debating and activities to encourage public speaking. The session concluded with a group challenge activity addressing team dynamics as well as a Q&A session with 2013 Worlds Universities Debating Championships winner, Nita Rao.