Speakers' Corner is the brainchild of Sydney's leading debating coaches, as a response to short comings we identified in the private coaching industry. Having worked at Sydney's leading private schools as well as private coaching institutes, we realised that the latter was lagging behind. We noticed that private tutoring institutes generally fail to replicate the enthusiasm and results that school debating programs would deliver. But why was that the case?
While most coaching institutes hire debaters, they are not actually run by people with qualifications in debating and public speaking. Accordingly, those who run these companies are generally unable to ensure the quality of their programs and actively identify the differences between good and bad debating coaching.
Having dedicated thousands of hours of our lives to debating and public speaking coaching, each of our co-founders was passionate about making a change in the industry. We wanted to provide students with a coaching option that was actually worth the money their parents were investing. At Speakers' Corner, we draw on our experience coordinating some of the most prestigious and successful debating programs in NSW, importing a culture of excellence and enjoyment that is unparalleled.
To that end, we expect our coaches to be more than baby-sitters. We use our inside knowledge of school debating coaching to ensure we only hire those who have proven they can manage discipline, consistently produce improvement at all age and talent levels, and bring passion no matter the circumstances of employment. Our coaches have coached the NSW State Debating Team, and ISDA, GPS and CHS winning teams Senior and Junior teams, and have consistently improved primary and high school debaters of all confidence, skill, and age levels.
Alongside our vast resources, and school-level classrooms, Speakers' Academy offers all students across Sydney (and beyond) the opportunity to access elite debating coaching for affordable prices. Whether your child is new to the world of Debating and Public Speaking, looking to crack the school team, or an experienced debater looking to reach the next level, Speakers' Corner is the perfect place. Fill the Expression of Interest form to begin!
Of the many extra-curricular activities in which children can engage, speaking and debating are certainly among the most beneficial. Improving our critical thinking, boosting our profile in professional settings, and augmenting our confidence and articulation in communication, Speakers’ Corner was founded by people who have experienced those benefits first-hand, achieving success in fields as diverse as law, academia, and journalism.
That is because debating and speaking equip students with countless versatile life skills. Aside from the obvious—improved verbal skills—debating and speaking also refine intelligence. Students are not only taught about world events and complex ideas ahead of peers, but they also learn strategies for expressing opinions clearly, cogently, and persuasively. Moreover, they both involve collaboration, teaching students how to problem-solve and think creatively in team contexts.
Debating and speaking develops these academic skills holistically, in a fun but challenging environment where interaction is necessary and interpersonal skills develop. Students meet other passionate and intelligent students, and invariably develop more confidence when dealing with other children and adults (we apologise in advance for the dinner table arguments!)
And, beyond all that, debating and speaking set students up well for future life. Debating and speaking experience is looked on favourably by employers, scholarship awarders, and University admissions. Perhaps more importantly, debating and speaking skills are lifelong, fostering better performance in job interviews, essays, and oral assessments.
Speakers’ Corner promises to develop all these skills and more in a challenging, safe, and fun environment.
AN ACADEMY RUN BY COACHES
Speakers' Corners doesn't just train or hire debaters: it is run by debaters too. Many coaching academies employ coaches who teach classes with little to no oversight from management. Speakers' Corner is different. Everyone involved with Speakers' Corner—whether management, administration, or coaches—have a deep knowledge of debating and program coordination at Sydney's most successful schools and prestigious institutions. We apply that expertise to every detail of our academy, whether its the way in which our classes are structured, or the training our coaches receive. Because our founders are also coaches, we have an intimate knowledge of the conditions required to get the most out of our coaches. We make sure that, along with our students, our employees are treated well so that everyone who is part of the Speakers' Corner family feels at home.
HOLISTIC TEACHING METHODS
Our teaching methods aren't just developed on an ad hoc basis — they're the product of careful planning that draws on a wealth of experience educating children from various backgrounds. We have workshopped lesson plans and coaching activities that strike a balance between providing our students with information and tailored feedback, and keeping them engaged and energised. Our classes are short and focussed with adequate time for breaks. That means that, for the duration of our coaching sessions, we get the most out of our students. But the experience doesn't end there. Our website has a specific portal where our students can reflect on their classes and ask us questions during the week. We also provide our students with unique resources and access to explanatory videos. Our goal is to maximise every students potential in an environment that nurtures their passion and interest for debating and public speaking.
PREMIER LEARNING CONDITIONS
We've coached at private academies before, where classrooms are cramped, and the buildings are in a state of disrepair. That environment is not conducive to student learning or for effective coaching. At Speakers' Corner, we want our students to be situated in an environment that is comfortable and equipped for their needs. We have put thought into procuring an educational purpose built campus, conveniently located in the heart of the CBD. Our campus has been accredited for educational training and is well-resourced to maximise your child's potential. As pictured, our classrooms have multi-media facilities that allow us to show our students videos of key debates, or segments of the news. Of course we recognise the need to provide a flexible learning environment. If reaching our campus poses difficulties, we offer flexible solutions via Zoom — feel free to get in touch to discuss these options further!
COACHES WHO ARE NOT ONLY DEBATERS BUT EDUCATORS
Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you can teach it! At Speakers' Corner, our coaches are all distinguished in the field of high school and university debating. But they're more than that. They're experienced educators, who have a proven record of excellence in coaching. Our coaches have led teams to CHS, GPS, ISDA and Archdale premierships. The students we have coached have been selected in State and National representative teams, and gone on to find success in whatever fields they choose. That isn't just a lucky coincidence. Each of our coaches reflects on their coaching sessions, and the needs of their students to make sure the teaching process at our academy is constantly improving. Our coaches discuss educational approaches with each other and workshop coaching ideas, to deliver our students a learning experience that is developed by a team of Sydney's most experienced coaches.
Our Pedagogical Principles
To bring our vision of high quality coaching to life, Speakers' Corner has developed a set of principles that guide every aspect of our coaching program.
Hands on: Our lesson plans encourage students to develop practical skills by giving them frequent opportunities to practice and receive feedback. We prioritise helping kids apply their knowledge and gain confidence while doing so.
Inspiring: We ensure that our coaches are experienced and passionate, ready to pass on a love of debating to their students. We have a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of debating, meaning we can present students with novel and relevant content. We empower students to set and pursue their debating goals.
Strategic: We tailor our teaching to cater to every age group and ability level. Our beginners' lessons are accessible and fun, while more advanced debaters have unlimited opportunities to extend their knowledge. We build on students' own interests and talents to help them stay engaged and motivated.
Accountable: Unlike other coaching centres, we ensure that there is oversight and clear communication about students' progress.
Caring: Student safety and care is fundamental to our approach. Our coaches have all completed Working With Children Checks, and are personally briefed on empathetic class management strategies. Different children have different needs, and at Speakers' Corner we pride ourselves on our empathetic and perceptive approach.