To be heard in today’s society is a vast accomplishment; the lines between what is news and entertainment are becoming increasingly blurred as more people, many with little understanding of an issue, confidently present their ideas in 60-second vignettes. The ability to deliver a well-researched speech in a persuasive manner has never been more important.
As Coordinator of both the Public Speaking and Debating programs, alongside my role within the English faculty, it has become my mission to equip Fintona’s students with the ability to both recognise and deliver strong persuasive speeches. Too often I have seen intelligent and hardworking girls miss opportunities because of a lack of confidence in their abilities. It has become so important for every girl to be able to say that their voice and opinions are valid. For them to take their place in the world where they command the room, rather than ask for permission to speak.
Whilst there are many overlaps to the skills of debating and public speaking, they do, of course, differ. Public speaking is an individual skill, whilst debating requires teamwork alongside strong communication in order to win the day.
In Public Speaking, students develop in their use of rhetoric and voice together, providing them with a skill that can be adapted to any scenario, whether it be a boardroom, an art gallery or an awards ceremony. Public Speaking asks students to analyse their own perspectives and have the confidence to reveal them to the world. This confidence in their ideas and clarity of expression is reflected within the classroom as students are increasingly engaged in presenting their own philosophies, resulting in more student-led learning opportunities.
Debating provides students with complex problems to solve as a team, everything from which speaking role suits them, to developing a compelling case over the course of three speakers. The sportsmanship, empathy and trust that is built between debaters, where each girl supports and is equally supported by her peers, is a particular strength of the Fintona debating teams. It may be simplistic to say, but the camaraderie within the debating sorority at Fintona cannot be matched.
My own passion for these programs began with my involvement as a student. However, the drive and determination I have for ensuring the programs are functioning at the highest level comes from the Fintona girls. They understand the value of learning how to stand up for themselves and to stand up for others. And they do it very well.
Debating & Public Speaking Coordinator
In 2021, Fintona students achieved some extraordinary results in Debating and Public Speaking competitions.
|Five Swannies (best speaker in the division)|
|Year 10||Charlotte, Yasmin|
|Year 9||Amelia, Mathangi|
|Victorian State Team|
|Livia||A member of the State Debating Team that
won the National Championships
|Australian National Team|
|Livia||A member of the Australian Team that ranked 14th overall out of 76 participating countries.Livia was ranked as the 36th best speaker out of 286 participants, the 2nd highest Australian team member|
|DAV Intermediate Competition|
|Yasmin||Second Runner Up|
|DAV Junior Competition|
|VCAA Plain English Speaking Competition (PESA)|
|Charlotte||Winner, state heat and state semi finalist|
|Dora||Runner up, state heat|