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Oral Language

Oral Language ranges from everyday speech, through asking and answering questions to formal activities such as debating and public speaking. It is possibly the most extensive activity in which humans are involved. It also involves the development of effective Listening Skills.

The following provides information about the more formal aspects of this. It includes Public Speaking and Debating, while also providing resources for the general development of speaking skill. Listening Skills are also included.


Commonwealth & State Information

Covers school level and general debating information.

For links to debating competitions in various states/territories, check the Competitions & Challenges page.

  • Australian Debating Federation
    ‘The peak body for schools debating in Australia. We oversee the provision of debating competitions for Australian school students from across the country’. All relevant information.
  • Debaters Association of Victoria
    Information for schools and adults, resources, events, Australian Debating Championships, Resource Articles and a Schools Handbook for their Schools competition.
  • Debating
    Calendar, competitions, resources, more from the NSW Department of Education Arts Unit.
  • Debating and Public Speaking
    Information about events and training for these from the Department of Education & Communities, New South Wales.
  • Debating SA
    ‘Operates across South Australia to allow students from schools and community organisations to participate in an education-based activity that promotes the development of communication, interpersonal and leadership skills’.
  • How to Improve Debating Skills ‘It is hard to be perfect at debating, and very few people can honestly say that they are good debaters. There are certain tricks and tips that anyone can do to improve their debating skills, no matter what their skill level is’. You should also visit the Debating Skills for Children page, which also has links to related information and videos on debating.
  • Queensland Debating Union
    Training Materials, a calendar of events for the coming year, resources, more.
  • Tasmanian Debating Union
    ‘Organises schools debating competitions in Tasmania and selects and trains Tasmanian teams to compete in the Australian Debating Championships’. Calendar, resources, links.
  • Western Australian Debating League
    ‘Established a forum for competitive debate between Perth metropolitan schools’. Now has more. Schools Competition, National Championships, resources, links, the latest news, more.

Other Information

  • Debating
    Australian. Information, free materials. Other training, professional development available but is fee-based. Australian Debating links.
  • Debating, Education & Resources
    Some material is fee-based, but there are free resources, including Information Sheets for various aspects of debating.
  • Debating Ideas
    Includes a Five-minute Debate Planner as well as topics grouped in either themes or levels.
  • I Beg to Differ : Debating
    New Zealand Site. Provides a full English Unit plan with all relevant resources for students in the senior secondary area. Worth consideration.
  • Masters Academy
    A Sydney based company that not only can provide training, but also has a range of resources [free and paid] as well as other professional development.
  • Speech and Debate Timekeeper
    ‘Open source, multi-platform timer for speech and debate competitions. It has speech order and time limits preset for Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, Parliamentary, Public Forum, World Schools, Karl Popper, miscellaneous debate formats as well as individual events’.
  • Taking the Initiative
    ‘Students and teachers involved in debating and/or public speaking competitions organised by the NSW Department of Education and Training should be familiar with the most authoritative guide to the conduct and adjudication of these activities’.

Skills Development

  • Basic Skills of Debating
    Fundamentals to become a devastating debater.
  • Debate Central
    How to debate, textbooks, videos, news, world debating information, debate blogs, more.
  • Debate in the Classroom
    Mix of lessons, ideas, techniques, effective speaking skills, rubrics, more. US based information, but still relevant.
  • Debating Guidelines
    New Zealand site. Provides guidelines on all aspects of debating. Clearly presented, definite in its viewpoint.
    ‘IDEA is an international network with over ten years of experience in teaching debate to young people. We are dedicated to inspiring informed discussion around the world’. Links to other resources including Debatabase, a compilation great debates.
  • Teaching Resources []
    A how-to guide in 14 sections ranging from Introductory exercise and argument construction through to judging and logic and reasoning. Multiple components [annotated listings] are found within each section.
  • World Debate Website
    Tutorials, adjudication information, research topics, motions, other links, rule information, more.

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Public Speaking

Public Speaking Competitions

For links to these nationally and in various states/territories, check the Competitions & Challenges page.

Speech Making

  • 10 Tips to Improve Your Speech
    Good advice from a blog by Gary Guwe called The Shy Speaker’s Guide to Success on Stage.
  • 4 000+ Speech Topics
    ‘Free speech topics with more than 4 000 persuasive, informative and other speech ideas, speech writing tips, how to guides, tutorials, information on outlining your speech topic for public speaking’.
  • Famous Speeches
    Gain ideas to improve your skills. Includes historical as well as modern day speeches from famous people. Print format rather than audio.
  • Painless Public Speaking
    Overcome panic and poor presentation. Tips, courses, even speeches written for you.
  • Performing Speeches
    13 articles covering everything from performance techniques to Tips from the Stage.
  • Presentation Tips for Public Speaking
    Short article with a lot of common sense included. Also has a series of links to related material.
  • Public Speaking Resources
    ‘Free tips and public speaking resources to help you improve your speaking, confidence and communication skills so you can excel in your business, careers and personal development’.
  • Public Speaking Tips
    ‘The following tips are taken from SPEAKING UP ©, MIT Freshman Advising Seminar. These tips provide you with advice on how to deliver your message clearly and strongly, with as little pain as possible for you - the speaker - and your audience’.
  • Strictly Speaking
    ‘A guide specifically intended for students and teachers of public speaking’. NSW Department of Education, Teaching & Learning Exchange.

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Other Information

Listening Skills

  • Active Listening Skills
    Several processes listed with examples.
  • A Listening Skills Rubric
  • Classroom Listening Skills
    ‘Are you an effective listener ? Then, use effective listening techniques. Here are the top ten ways to listen to a lecture.’
  • Good Listening in Class
    ‘Listening is a cognitive act that requires you to pay attention and think about and mentally process what you hear. Here are some things you should do to be a good listener in class’.
  • Improving Listening Skills
    Article. 3 types of effective listening, roadblocks, reasons to improve, feelings to listen for, role-play activity.
  • Listening Skills
    ‘These lesson plans and materials are appropriate for general English classes. Have a look ! There’s a huge assortment of listening activities’.
  • Skillswise - Speaking & Listening
    From the BBC. Practise listening for specific information and different types of listening as well as a variety of speaking activities.
  • Speaking & Listening Skills - Listening
    ‘What does it really mean to listen ? Tips for being a good listener’.
  • Teaching Children Listening Skills Through Reading
    ‘Teaching children listening skills by reading to them will improve their listening skills and train them in the art of active listening’. For younger students.
  • Teaching Listening
    ‘It is essential for language teachers to help their students become effective listeners. In the communicative approach to language teaching, this means modelling listening strategies and providing listening practice in authentic situations’. Goals, techniques, strategies, developing activities, textbook listening activities, assessing proficiency, resources.
  • What is Listening ?
    Lists good and poor listening habits. Links to Active Listening and other information.

Other Information

  • Australian Speak Easy Association
    Self-help group aiding those who stutter and find speaking difficult.
  • Art of Speaking in Public
    Tips that help improve your public speaking.
  • Improving English Listening
    Annotated links to a range of resources both from the university and other sources. University of Western Australia.
  • National Speaker’s Association
    Join if a professional speaker. Events, newsletter. Fee-based.
  • Rostrum
    ‘Australian organisation where members learn and practice public speaking skills in a friendly club atmosphere. Members help each other to increase confidence and improve speaking skills in a warm, friendly and co-operative environment’.
  • Toastmasters International
    The International body. Resources page has quality free resources to assist with speech making. Available online, as PDF documents.
  • Toastmasters International Australia
    ‘Will help you overcome any fear of public speaking while learning skills that will allow you to become more successful in whatever path in life you have chosen’.

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