Jun 042013
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“Be a craftsman in speech that thou mayest be strong” – (Maxims of Ptahhotep, 3400 B.C.)

St Christopher’s students are rarely short of something to say. Nor are they short on confidence and they certainly have strong opinions and principles. All this is put to good use by the English Department in Term 3 of Year 7. We know our students are ambitious and intend to succeed in the most respected professions. In the spirit of student voice, they will often ask “how will English help me get a job out in the real world? And, to that end, the final area of study in the Year 7 programme is rhetoric. Schools may be desperately trying to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change, but the ability to communicate effectively will never date. The ability to harness the power of persuasive speech is an attribute every competent and confident individual needs. Students are taught how to recognise and apply specific persuasive techniques from the power of listing to extended metaphors, from direct address to repetition. They are trained to use the right body language, tone of voice and volume. Perhaps most critical, they are asked to evaluate where such skills will prove invaluable to them beyond their English Speaking and Listening Assessment. This term, all Year 7 students have: studied famous orators like Martin Luther King and Barrack Obama; analysed the language and structure of effective speeches; composed and delivered their own speeches; acquired skills for life and…had a lot of fun.