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Public Speaking Workshops

Speak to Persuade and Motivate

Level 1: Grades 5-7

Level 2: Grades 8+


Course Schedule:

Spring Qtr: Jan./Feb. - April | Summer Qtr: June/July - Aug.

Fall Qtr: Sept. - Nov. | Winter Qtr: Nov. - Jan.

In-Class Instruction Time: 10 hours 

Course Overview

Public speaking, implemented in a multitude of scenarios at school and beyond, is one of the most important skills one will ever develop in life. For students, most commonly, they will need to prepare clear presentations in class or deliver compelling speeches in running for club positions. They may also be invited to speak to all students at graduations, to their colleagues in their future professions, and perhaps even to their constituents one day. 

However, public speaking is also one of most dreaded forms of communication. This course is designed to equip students -- be they nervous novice speakers or confident communicators -- with an arsenal of hands-on strategies to develop their speech writing and public presentation skills. Through structured learning activities and under one-on-one guidance, students will practice diligently how to craft an organized speech, reduce the fear of public speaking, develop a voice with vitality, create effective visuals to support the speech, express with dynamic body language, and get the message across eloquently. 

This course consists of 5 core lessons and 5 practice lessons, covering a range of public speaking topics, including:

  • Refining and developing throughlines

  • How to deconstruct complex ideas

  • How to use effective persuasive language

  • Vocal techniques & stage presence 

  • Constructing compelling visuals

  • Feedback sessions on their work

  • Preparing for specific events/contests

Each week, students will have writing and speaking assignments that will support the development of their speech.

Monthly Intensives

After completing the course, students will be invited to join monthly themed sessions related to public speaking. Each month, we will tackle a different element of rhetoric both independently and collaboratively. Students will be provided with prompts to develop in advance, or bring their own work for other occasions such as school club elections to work on during each session. 

Sample sessions may include the following, but students may also suggest topics of interest:

  • Refining and developing throughlines

  • How to deconstruct complex ideas

  • How to use effective persuasive language

  • Vocal techniques & stage presence 

  • Constructing compelling visuals

  • Feedback sessions on their work

  • Preparing for specific events/contests

Mentor: Mr. Donovan

M.F.A. in Theatre Directing & B.Ed in Secondary EducationTheatre Director, Filmmaker, & High School Teacher


Mr. Donovan is an award-winning director, playwright, screenwriter, and actor. He has directed over 20 theatre and film productions and has acted professionally in a countless number of plays and films. His most recent work was directing the 2020 Citadel Theatre Young Company in an adaptation of The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Nielson that he adapted from the stageplay into a film production. Besides theatre and film, Mr. Donovan is passionate about teaching. He has been teaching online since the COVID-19 pandemic and works as a teacher in secondary schools. 

Questions to Explore

  1. What makes an idea worth sharing? How do we refine our ideas into something communicable?

  2. What role does the audience play in speech?

  3. How do we script a speech? What techniques can we use to memorize said speech?

  4. How do our voice and body language affect our speech? What differences are there between online and in-person speeches?

  5. What narrative techniques can we employ to hook our audience and explain complex concepts?

  6. How can we effectively use visual aids? When is it better to forgo visuals?   


“Mr. Donovan was the greatest teacher I had. Not only did he give me opportunities to improve but he also understood me as a student. We’re all very thankful of him because he made class way more fun than my previous classes. He made me grow as a student.”

“Mr. Donovan was an amazing teacher. He was very engaging, great energy, and gave us all the information we needed to succeed. Mr. Donovan was very organized each class and showed that he cared for each student. He came in everyday with the same energy as the first day.”

“Mr. Donovan is a wonderful and patient teacher. His teaching style is very enjoyable. He breaks down everything he teaches into basic terms so that students can understand it. He allows students to interact and demonstrate their understanding.”

“I love Mr. Donovan’s teaching style. I found it easier to understand and learn more efficiently. He has drastically changed my mindset in class and made my class experience more positive.”

“Mr. Donovan was a really good teacher. He kept me interested in the topics he was teaching and spoke very clear. He made many of the classes fun with many different activities. He also made the topics easy to understand with simple terms and broke them down well.” 

“Mr. Donovan’s methods of teaching has made learning in class more engaging and clear. His feedback on our work is also very helpful. He tells us what we did wrong and need to work on better for next time in a straightforward and friendly way.”

“Mr. Donovan has helped me a lot during his time here. He actually made coming to class enjoyable and understandable. He’s very patient with every student that had a little trouble with something. 

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