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Public Speaking & Debate Summer Course in Cambridge Ages 13-15

Cambridge Summer School 2020
Also in Oxford

Part of the NEW PERSPECTIVES Programme

Study Public Speaking and Debate with our Cambridge Summer School 2020. In this Public Speaking and Debate course for teens, students learn how to compose a speech on a particular topic, compose a strong argument, and use rhetoric in declaiming and in responding composedly to different speakers, testing their skills by preparing speeches to perform in front of fellow members of the class.

2 or 4 weeks | Available July - August 2020

  • Residential in historic buildings in Cambridge
  • An inspiring public speaking course taught by experts.
  • 17 exciting classes to choose from - tailor your programme
  • A truly international environment - over 150 nationalities at ORA in 2019

Course Summary

In this Public Speaking and Debate course for teens, students learn how to compose a speech on a particular topic, compose a strong argument, and respond composedly to different speakers. Under expert guidance, students discover more about the intricacies of debate, from selecting a topic to generating and allocating arguments, the roles of different speakers, and using stylistic techniques to achieve maximum effect. They test their new skills by preparing speeches on their favourite topics and participating in debates with fellow members of the class.

Throughout this two-week course, students are provided with ample opportunity to familiarise themselves with diverse public speaking scenarios – from individual speeches to team debates – as well as the most effective and appropriate presentation techniques. By analysing famous speeches from the past, students learn to appreciate excellent oratory, and recognise the skills and techniques that they can use when constructing their own speeches. The course aims to increase students’ enthusiasm for public speaking and debate, and encourages them to share this with their peers. By the end of the course, students will be on easy terms with the ‘three Ms’ of public speaking: manner, method, and matter.

Controversial topics in an international group

The diversity of the ORA student body is a real advantage in Public Speaking and Debate, as it provides a variety of viewpoints and experiences that students might otherwise not have encountered, thereby making debates livelier and more interesting. However, as students work alongside peers from across the globe, from varied cultures and backgrounds, it is important for them to keep the tone of the debate considerate. This is a valuable skill for life in our globalised and multicultural world, which is honed on this course. Students are often called upon to debate difficult and controversial social and political topics, and therefore must be prepared to treat their peers with the utmost respect.

The table below gives an indication of the subject areas that will be covered in each day’s lecture and seminar. Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, please note that topics and timings may be subject to change.

Day Week 1 (Scroll right for week 2) Week 2
  • Introductions and icebreakers.
  • What are good public speaking skills?
  • Great speeches: Part 1.
  • Introduction to debating.
  • Clash game
  • Structure and style in debating.
  • Tennis debates.
  • Public speaking games.
  • How to plan a speech.
  • Speech writing: 'My country: one thing I would change"
  • Formal debates: team debates on a range of issues.
  • Assessing progress.
  • Great speeches: Part II.
  • Speech writing: "The most urgent problem of the 21st century".
  • Debating competition (To be filmed and the recording shown on graduation night).
  • Course review and summary.

What will you get out of the Public Speaking and Debate Summer Course?

The course provides an introduction to the theory of public speaking, including how to structure a speech and how to provide and link arguments when appropriate. The students are introduced to foundational rhetorical techniques such as repetition and alliteration. Time spent listening to and discussing world-renowned speeches furthers this process, while also acting as an inspiring exercise for many of the students. The practical element of this part of the course includes a variety of practical speaking exercises, notably a speech giving competition.

The debating component of the course teaches the students debating through simple practical small team debates. After this start, the theory of debating is introduced at a basic level. Students learn about choosing a topic, generating and allocating arguments, the roles of different speakers, and stylistic matters. The final debates seek to encourage the coalescence of all these theoretical elements.

The New Perspectives Programme

This subject is part of the New Perspectives course at Oxford Royale Summer Schools’s Cambridge summer school.

The New Perspectives summer course, for students aged 13 to 15, is suitable both for those who are trying to decide what to pursue in further education, and for those who simply want to learn about a variety of interesting subjects - 17+ study options are available!

Students choose two morning classes and one afternoon workshop to provide a diverse and stimulating curriculum that is tailored to their needs, allowing them to pursue areas of interest or try out something new. Students studying New Perspectives in Cambridge get the chance to live and learn in a college of the University of Cambridge.

Click here to apply for the New Perspectives Programme in Cambridge

Expectations and Pre-requisites

Please do not worry if you have never done any public speaking or debating before; this is not a problem as our course gives you everything you need to know.

Choose your options and apply for New Perspectives in Cambridge

The New Perspectives programme - our flagship Cambridge summer course for 13-15s - allows you to combine different subject options to enable a flexible, tailored programme that best suits your academic needs

To view other options, select your choice of options and apply, please visit the main New Perspectives Programme page

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