Any student of World War II history knows that one of the traits that was crucial to Winston Churchill’s leadership of the British during one of the most challenging times in their history was his incredible oratory skills. Now, British educators and politicians -- including Randolph Churchill -- are joining together to use Sir Winston’s example as a way to teach young schoolchildren how to speak with confidence.
Sound too good to be true? It’s for real!
The program is a pilot effort that involves a whole bunch of talented people from around the United Kingdom, including members of the House of Lords -- Lord Michael Howard and Lord Michael Dobbs -- speaking coach Mo Shapiro, and the staffs of Chartwell House, Blenheim Palace, and the Churchill War Rooms.
Students from Charles Darwin School and their peers from Oxted School were invited to participate in the new program, which included a speech from Randolph Churchill discussing the power of Sir Winston’s oratory, and lessons from the pair of lords on delivering a speech. I’m willing to bet that this was a great way to raise the kids’ confidence, and taught them a lot about history, too!
This is a completely new experiment in the right way to teach kids about the practical and political art of rhetoric. It sounds like something that’s great for the youngsters, and I hope to hear that it continues in coming years! In fact, an American equivalent featuring the speeches of FDR wouldn’t go amiss, either. What do you think?