Anyone who has ever watched a TED talk will appreciate how very inspirational a good speaker can be. Yes they are likely to be interesting and informative and teach you something that you didn’t know. They might even have charisma, and a certain charm. But above all, the most effective speakers succeed in getting their messages across because they are great communicators – they have mastered the art of oracy – a skill which is now being taught at Putney High School GDST where we have just employed our first “Orator in Residence”.
Intellectual sparring has always been very much part of life at Putney and as our orator, Miss Kiek points out, “Live disagreement is one of the best forums for the development and refinement of new ideas – it leads to intellectual growth.” Aside from teaching formal oracy skills and embedding debating more firmly in the curriculum, Miss Kiek will be introducing a number of initiatives including the Putney “soap box” where girls will be encouraged to stand up and speak on a topic they are passionate about in the hope of drawing a crowd, and a “speakathon” along the lines of Radio 4’s, Just a Minute.