Monday, 22 June 2009

My yr 10s are shaping up nicely. This week we are preparing for a speaking and listening exercise. They're pretty good, but their style is pretty unsophisticated (not surprising - they ARE only yr 10!) but for the A* grade, they need to be more structured in their talks.
I, like most of the world am mesmerized when Barack Obama speaks, so I decided to look at good speech writing and delivery. At some future date, I intend to get the class to analyse the techniques used in Obama's speeches (for anyone interested, the famous speech at his election is analysed in detail on Changingminds.org) but for now I found something simpler.
I found transcripts of the closing defence speech from 'A Time to Kill' (incredibly powerful speech) and one of the inimitable Alan Shore (wonderfully played by James Spader) closings from 'Boston Legal' - the one I chose to start with is a speech about condoms (yes, really!) It's a powerful speech that uses loads of persuasive techniques and is so well formulated that it makes a really good model for the kids to follow. Then this week, I used another one from a later episode that's a swingeing attack on the PATRIOT Act. It's witty and clever, and like the earlier condom speech, is great for teaching persuasive techniques.
I quite often use film or TV series to supplement my teaching and following the fallow period since Buffy left (although she still makes guest appearances every year in my Gothic lessons, or my lessons on the use and development of language...) Alan Shore has brought a lot of useful material into my classroom. So between him and Denny Crane, (the other major character in the series) Speaking andListening lessons will never be the same again!
I'm looking forward to hearing my Yr 10 speeches!

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