For sixth-graders at Peck, their public speaking class isn’t just about learning how to stand in front of a crowd and deliver a speech. It’s become much more than that—teaching students how to speak with both conviction and compassion, to see issues from different angles, and to express their own unique perspectives.
Just ask Isabella DiPasquale, an eighth grader serving as an officer of the Student Council. The lessons learned from this yearlong course have spilled over into other areas of her life.
“I learned how to articulate my thoughts a little bit better without ‘um’ and ‘like,’ which was helpful,” she said. “We did various activities that required different types of thinking.”
The course covers fundamentals such as posture, modulation, and eye contact, but also different types of speeches and the elements that make a great speech. DiPasquale, who delivered her signature eighth grade speech in September, said the course also gave her the confidence to do more public speaking in advance of her culminating moment.
“Learning the fundamentals took away some of the anxiety over the mechanics of delivering the speech and allowed me to focus on being confident,” she said.
And to her surprise, the class didn’t just teach her how to be a good orator, but also a better listener. She has continued to find applications for the course content as she prepares for secondary school interviews.
“Ms. Williams always says the hardest question is ‘tell me about yourself’ because it’s so open-ended,” DiPasquale said. “The public speaking class helped me to take a broad topic and narrow it down, and to be better at expressing myself.”
The Peck School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.