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Public Speaking and Debate Summer Course in Oxford Ages 16-18

Oxford Summer School 2020
Also in Cambridge | London

Part of the BROADENING HORIZONS Programme


Study Public Speaking & Debate with our Oxford Summer School 2020. In this course, students focus on developing their presentation and advocacy skills: an understanding of how to plan a speech; build a strong and persuasive argument; and to give a convincing speech, with plenty of practice to build confidence for the future.

2 or 4 weeks | Available July - August 2020

  • Residential in historic buildings in Oxford
  • An inspiring architecture summer course taught by experts.
  • Combine this course with other options - tailor your programme
  • A truly international environment - over 150 nationalities in 2020

Course Summary

Over two weeks, students will work on practical aspects of speech giving, such as body language, clarity of delivery and maintaining eye contact with their audience. Students gain wide-ranging experience of public speaking and debate, and by the end of the course they have a firm grounding in essential skills and feel confident in their ability to take on new challenges.

In each session students are shown new techniques and strategies, and then given plenty of opportunities to put these into practice. Sessions are structured so that there is plenty of time for questions and discussion; this approach is central to all ORA courses, but none more so than Public Speaking and Debate, where the chance to speak up is paramount. The two-week period leads up to a formal debating competition for the whole class on a chosen subject.

Drawing from the Past for the Present

The course also looks at a variety of famous speeches from history up to the present day to see how famous speakers have used various techniques, and what students can learn from their success: Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ and Julia Gillard’s ‘misogyny speech’ are both rigorously analysed.

The workshop debates address a variety of issues, ranging from easily accessible topics (e.g. the length of school holidays or the value of school uniform) to more complex and challenging social issues (the death penalty, euthanasia, the legalisation of drugs) as the students’ confidence increases.

Students will work alongside peers from across the world, often from very different cultures and backgrounds. This is a valuable opportunity to learn respectful discourse with those who hold different beliefs – crucial when discussing delicate social and political problems in debate.

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

In the first week the course concentrates on public speaking, and in the second week on debating. Overall, it aims to combine instruction in the theory of speaking (‘manner, method, matter’) with instruction in the practice of speaking in context. Students work both individually and in groups on a variety of assignments designed to develop their newly-acquired skills within a welcoming and encouraging environment.

The Broadening Horizons Programme

This subject is part of the Broadening Horizons course at Oxford Royale Summer Schools’s Oxford summer school.

The Broadening Horizons course, for students aged 16 to 18, 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 - 30+ 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 Broadening Horizons in Oxford get the chance to live and learn in a college of the University of Oxford or in our 17th-century manor house, Yarnton Manor.

Learn more about and apply for the Broadening Horizons Programme in Oxford

Expectations and Pre-requisites

No experience of public speaking or debating is required.

Choose your options and apply for Broadening Horizons

The Broadening Horizons programme - our flagship Oxford summer course - 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 Broadening Horizons Programme page

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