- Keywords: Global issues, elections, pair work, public speaking skills
- Learner English level: Intermediate and above
- Learner maturity: High school or university
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Activity time: Three 90-minute lessons (varies depending on learners and institution)
- Materials: Computer with Internet connection, projector, worksheets, ballot box
This activity requires students to prepare and give a convincing campaign speech for a mock election. In a discussion or global issues course, this activity is an ideal way for reviewing topics taught while giving students the chance to concentrate on issues that interest, concern or affect them. It also challenges them to think deeply about the issues in order to develop their opinions and potential solutions. It has a collaborative aspect and aids public speaking skills. With fortunate timing it can coincide with a real-world election but can otherwise be used as an engaging review activity at any time.
Step 1: Find appropriate videos online or check the links in Appendix A
Step 2: Edit the topic list in Appendix B to reflect the course content
Step 3: Print both Appendices
Step 4: Get a receptacle to use as a ballot box
Step 1: Introduce the activity to students by explaining the concept of election campaign speeches, candidates and running mates. Distribute Appendix A and explain that public speakers alter their intonation, speed, body language, gestures, and facial expressions.
Step 2: Watch the videos of famous political speeches as a class. Make notes and discuss the speakers’ use of the aforementioned techniques. Note that Winston Churchill’s speech is a photo-montage rather than a video, but body language and gestures are still discernible. Inform students that the videos may be useful examples for them when preparing their own speeches.
Step 3: Distribute Appendix B and instruct students to form pairs. Explain that they must choose two topics from the course and answer the questions regarding the reasons for their topic choices and their opinions on those topics. Their answers will form the bulk of their speech. Monitor to check students’ work and offer feedback.
Step 4: Instruct students to practice their speeches and encourage them to pay attention to the public speaking techniques seen in the videos from Step 1. Students can record themselves practicing or ask others to watch them in order to receive feedback and improve their performance.
Step 5: Explain that there will be a vote after all the speeches but ask students not to vote for themselves. Have students give their speeches in front of the class.
Step 6: After all pairs have spoken, ask the audience to vote. Tally the votes and announce the winners.
Depending on student maturity and level, the number of example videos can be changed, as can the required number of topics and sentences. If students are old enough to have voted, the teacher could elicit a discussion of their experience and talk about voting in his/her own country. Students could also make posters or slides to accompany their speeches. Requiring students to ask questions after each speech would encourage further discussion of topics and ideas. The teacher could prepare a prize for the winners.
This activity helps students develop their collaborative and public speaking skills while focusing on the topics that interest them. It also allows them to share ideas and opinions with their classmates. It can be an effective way to review the course, and students often appreciate the opportunity to further explore topics of interest to them.
The appendix is available below.