Oral Language ranges from everyday speech, through asking and answering questions to formal activities such as debating and public speaking. It is possibly the most extensive activity in which humans are involved. It also involves the development of effective Listening Skills.
This page provides information about the more formal aspects of this. It includes Public Speaking and Debating, while also providing resources for the general development of speaking skill. Listening Skills are also included.
Commonwealth & State Information
Covers school level and general debating information.
For links to debating competitions in various states/territories, check the Competitions & Challenges page.
- Australian Debating Federation
‘The peak body for schools debating in Australia. We oversee the provision of debating competitions for Australian school students from across the country’. All relevant information, including links to state groups.
- Debaters Association of Victoria
Information for schools and adults, resources, events, Australian Debating Championships, Resources including a Schools Competition Resource Guide.
Calendar, competitions, resources, more from the NSW Department of Education Arts Unit.
- Debating SA
‘Operates across South Australia to allow students from schools and community organisations to participate in an education-based activity that promotes the development of communication, interpersonal and leadership skills’.
- Queensland Debating Union
Training Materials, a calendar of events for the coming year, resources, more.
- Tasmanian Debating Union
‘Organises schools debating competitions in Tasmania and selects and trains Tasmanian teams to compete in the Australian Debating Championships’. Calendar, resources, links.
- The New South Wales Debating Union
‘Seeks to promote and develop high school debating in New South Wales’.
- Western Australian Debating League
‘Established a forum for competitive debate between Perth metropolitan schools’. Now has more. Schools Competition, National Championships, resources, links, the latest news, more.
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Debatabase : a world of great debates
Hundred of debates in grouped topics. Each has a case study, points for and against, voting results before and after the debate, bibliography including links.
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‘A free online community where intelligent minds from around the world come to debate online and read the opinions of others. Research today’s most controversial debate topics and cast your vote on our opinion polls’.
- Debating Ideas
Includes a Five-minute Debate Planner as well as topics grouped in either themes or levels.
- How to Improve Debating Skills
eHow.com. ‘There are certain tricks and tips that anyone can do to improve their debating skills, no matter what their skill level’. Also visit Debating Skills for Children and Rules for Classroom Debates.
- I Beg to Differ : Debating
New Zealand Site. Provides a full English Unit plan with all relevant resources for students in the senior secondary area.
- Speech and Debate Timekeeper
‘Open source, multi-platform timer for speech and debate competitions. It has speech order and time limits preset for Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, Parliamentary, Public Forum, World Schools, Karl Popper, miscellaneous debate formats as well as individual events’.
- Taking the Initiative
‘Students and teachers involved in debating and/or public speaking competitions organised by the NSW Department of Education and Training should be familiar with the most authoritative guide to the conduct and adjudication of these activities’.
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An Introduction to Debating [KS3]
TES. ‘A short scheme of work on debating, produced for Key Stage 3 students. Lessons focus on what debate is and why it occurs, rhetorical strategies for arguing and persuading, debate structure and debate delivery. Also included are motions for debate, as well as arguments that might be used to respond to these motions’.
- Debate Central
How to debate, textbooks, videos, news, world debating information, debate blogs, more.
- Debate in the Classroom
Mix of lessons, ideas, techniques, effective speaking skills, rubrics, audio, video, more. US, but still relevant.
- Debating Resources [Western Australian Debating League]
Includes ‘Case Construction, Speaker Roles, Palm Cards, Points of Information, Impromptu Preparation, Student Handbook and Teacher Handbook’.
- How to facilitate a debate
Teacher Resource. ‘The following learning experiences provide learners with opportunities to develop skills and understandings in advocating a point of view, value different viewpoints, reflect on what influences our own personal viewpoints and learn about taking social action at a personal level’.
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‘IDEA is an international network with over ten years of experience in teaching debate to young people. We are dedicated to inspiring informed discussion around the world’. Links to resources.
- Primary Debating
UK Parliament. ‘Resources packed with practical ideas to create engaging and lively opportunities for developing debating skills’.
- Teacher’s Guide to Introducing Debate
in the Classroom
A Canadian document that goes through the process in great detail.
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World Debating News
Tutorials, adjudication information, research topics, motions, other links, rule information, more.
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World Schools Debating Championships
‘The World Schools Debating Championships is a truly global competition for high school debaters. The Championships take place each year in a different country, hosted by a national debating body’.
Public Speaking Competitions
For links to these nationally and in various states/territories, check the Competitions & Challenges page.
- 10 Tips for improving your Presentations & Speeches
11 actually. Watch a 15 minute TedX video on the topic, plus read the points.
- An Introvert’s Guide to Public Speaking
‘Here are five lessons I learned as an introvert speaking in front of an audience for the first time. You can apply these lessons for anything from a job interview to an investor’s pitch. Anywhere you’re trying to convince, inspire, teach or entertain’.
- Effective Speaking
SkillsYouNeed. ‘This page can help you understand and utilise the full potential of your voice’.
- Famous Speeches
Gain ideas to improve your skills. Includes historical as well as modern day speeches from famous people.
- Fun Speech Topics for Kids of all ages
‘60 light-hearted fun speech topic ideas. Either pick one or use them to kick start your own creativity’. A related page is School Speech Topics for Children.
- Performing Speeches
13 articles covering everything from performance techniques to Tips from the Stage.
- Presentation Tips for Public Speaking
Short article with a lot of common sense included. Also links to related material.
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Public Speaking for Kids [Infographic]
‘Public speaking is not just a skill for adults. Kids have important ideas and insights as well, and sometimes those ideas can make a huge impact when delivered in a speech’. USA.
- Public Speaking Resources
‘Free tips and public speaking resources to help you improve your speaking, confidence and communication skills’. Scroll down to these.
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Public Speaking Tips
‘The following tips are taken from SPEAKING UP ©, MIT Freshman Advising Seminar. These tips provide you with advice on how to deliver your message clearly and strongly, with as little pain as possible for you - the speaker - and your audience’.
- Public Speaking Tips [Toastmasters International]
‘These how-to articles will help you hone your skills’.
- Public Speaking Topics, Ideas and Tips - My Speech Class
‘Designed to help you with making a public speech: from selecting a topic, to writing and delivering - feel free to browse to find great ideas and tips’.
- Six Minutes : Public Speaking and Presentation Skills Blog
‘Our mission is to make you an effective speaker and presenter. Learn from recent articles, the entire article archive, or these Reader Favourites’. Multiple sections listed.
- Strictly Speaking
‘A guide specifically intended for students and teachers of public speaking’. NSW Department of Education.
- The Public Speaking Project
‘This website offers an assortment of virtual tools to help users improve their public speaking skills. A variety of speech professionals who are dedicated to providing free and low cost instructional materials contributed their original work. The project is growing and we will be adding and updating the content regularly’.
- Yellow Lantern
‘A modern, fun and dynamic series of programs and clubs for kids with an emphasis on positive self talk, empowered speech and celebrating personality. Learn about our approach by watching our video’. Fee-based.
- Active Listening
Looks at external factors, then at you, the listener.
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A framework for planning a
listening skills lesson
British Council/BBC. ‘In this article I intend to outline a framework that can be used to design a listening lesson that will develop your students' listening skills and look at some of the issues involved’.
- All About Listening Skills
Multiple topic list [with annotations] from Developing Listening and Attention Skills in Children to The Best Listening Skills.
- Classroom Listening Skills
‘Are you an effective listener ? Then, use effective listening techniques. Here are the top ten ways to listen to a lecture.’
- Developing Listening Communication Skills
‘These tips will help you be a more attentive listener’.
- Good Listening in Class
‘Listening is a cognitive act that requires you to pay attention and think about and mentally process what you hear. Here are some things you should do to be a good listener in class’.
- How to teach Listening
‘FAQs, a handy guide and top tips for teaching listening’.
- How to Teach Listening Skills :
‘While teaching listening may seem ambiguous, there are actually a number of principles that apply in teaching listening skills in English’.
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Scholastic.com.‘Taking advantage of the world of sounds is a wonderful way to help young children develop their listening skills’.
- Listening Skills
‘These lesson plans and materials are appropriate for general English classes. Have a look ! There’s a huge assortment of listening activities’.
- Say What ? 5 Ways to Get Students to
Working to develop listening skills from a different direction.
- Skillswise - Speaking &
BBC Skillswise. Listening for specific information, different types of listening as well as a variety of speaking and communication topics.
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Speaking & Listening Skills -
‘What does it really mean to listen ? Tips for being a good listener’.
- Teaching Listening
Originally done for languages learners but applicable everywhere. Five sections and further resources.
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What is Active Listening ?
‘This lesson gives students the opportunity to identify what active listening is [and why it is important in managing conflicts]’.
- What is
Lists good and poor listening habits. Links to Active Listening and other information.
- Australian Speak Easy Association
Self-help group aiding those who stutter and find speaking difficult.
- National Speaker’s Association
Join if a professional speaker. Events, newsletter. Fee-based.
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‘Australian organisation where members learn and practice public speaking skills in a friendly club atmosphere. Members help each other to increase confidence and improve speaking skills in a warm, friendly and co-operative environment’.
- Toastmasters International Video Library
Videos for different topics from Interview situations to Managing your Fear and many more. Select using different options.
- Toastmasters International Australia
‘Will help you overcome any fear of public speaking while learning skills that will allow you to become more successful’.