The Challenges of Teaching Public Speaking in ES

The Challenges of  Teaching Public Speaking

I have mentioned before that I work in a school that has an inclusive ESL program. English language larners are expected to complete assignments that can be challenging and my role is to scaffold the language so that they are able to complete the assignment and to feel successful.  At this time of the school year, our Grade 4 students discuss Child Rights and they are asked to write and present a speech about one child right that they are passionate about and explain why this right is important for children in the world.

The assignment of writing a public speech is not easy even for native speakers. Students have to clearly understand what is expected from them and how a public speech looks like. This is why the homeroom teacher and I co planned and co-taught most of the activites in our inclusion classes and we used a lot od language scaffolding activities with English language learners as well as native speakers.

We felt that the first step was to find great examples of speeches given by children that would inspire our students and boost their motivation.

We found a website that helped us to start: Grade 3-5: Public Speaking Activities

Based on this website and other resources, we compiled a list of interesting speeches that somehow relate to Child Rights:

Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

What’s Wrong with our Food System?

Kid President’s Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here

The Girl Who Silenced the World

A 10-year Old Very Confident Speaker

Iqbal’s Speech

Teen Calls Attention to Right to Be Educated

With our students, we examined the above listed speeches, the way the speakers introduce themselves and conclude their speeches. Further, we discussed how the presenters prepare for the speeches and how they keep their audience engaged. We watched a Brainpop video on Public Speaking to confirm our findings.

The students seem to enjoy the following clip the most!


After this, we shared with our students a Speech Outline that they were supposed to follow. You can access this outline here!


Speech Outline1 Speech Outline2


Well, I hope, as always, that you will find the above resources useful in your ESL/Literacy/Language Arts classes about the art of Public Speaking!



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