Sixth grade public speaking has developed into a cornerstone of our work in the Middle School. As part of their speech project, students are asked to select a topic of their choice. The topics reflect their developing interests and their engagement with the world around them: women’s rights, animal rights, climate change, Internet privacy.
Students conduct thorough research and outline and write a speech incorporating rhetorical flourishes. They memorize their final speeches and practice their public speaking skills — pacing, using their hands, modulating their voices — often videotaping themselves and asking for teacher and peer feedback. On the big day, they dress in formal attire and deliver a 3–4 minute speech in the auditorium to a gathering of the entire Middle School and their parents. The sense of accomplishment and pride in the room after each student returns to their seat is palpable. The time, energy, enthusiasm and growth that comes out of this experience highlights the intangible growth students make through this process. The project embodies pillars of our mission in the development of time management, enhancement of resilience and the way it engages student curiosity. The entire process builds upon students’ previous years of work as writers and readers, as well as public speakers. It has become a landmark project of the Middle School years and one that many students remember throughout their time at NCCS.
New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.