Cool

Competence oriented open learning for disadvantaged learners

Sustainable Speechcraft

‘Public Speaking – Lets Talk Sustainability’ an 8 week online course whereby sustainability advocates aka students/speechcrafters learn to improve their articulation on the complexities of sustainability in the written form and in speeches in English.

The course culminates with a gala awards ceremony, with speechcrafters giving a 3 minute speech on their chosen topic. This global initiative has students from 4 countries. Lead co-ordinator is Dr Shirley Gallagher.

The idea behind the initiative; to help people passionate about sustainability to crystallize their message, and to use the learned skills to engage others. As COP27 ponders our collective next step, we acknowledge we are living in the midst of an existential crisis regarding energy, climate change and biodiversity loss. Our focus is to support advocates to provide clear messaging to the general public on what can be done and to give hope. Einstein said ‘ those that have the privilege to know have the duty to act’. This course supports them to craft speeches and the written word.

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a toolkit of communication and public speaking skills that will ultimately enhance their confidence to write and speak with clarity on their chosen sustainability topic.

Sustainability Speechcraft encourages learners to actively participate in the course on a weekly basis by having an open discussion at the end of each meeting on how they think the programme is facilitating their needs. It also provides a safe space for learners to discuss ideas related to sustainability. These aspects of the course provides organisers with valuable information on improving the ‘Sustainability Speechcraft’ initiative.

Challenge Tackled

The idea behind the initiative; to help people passionate about sustainability to crystallize their message, and to use the learned skills to engage others. As COP27 ponders our collective next step, we acknowledge we are living in the midst of an existential crisis regarding energy, climate change and biodiversity loss. Our focus is to support advocates to provide clear messaging to the general public on what can be done and to give hope. Einstein said ' those that have the privilege to know have the duty to act'. This course supports them to craft speeches and the written word.

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a toolkit of communication and public speaking skills that will ultimately enhance their confidence to write and speak with clarity on their chosen sustainability topic.

Target group, beneficiaries or clients

Home carers, Lone parents, Men, Migrants, Older learners, People and/or their families living with addiction/in recovery, People experiencing homelessness, People experiencing rural isolation, People living in border counties, People who are unemployed, People who left school early, People with disabilities, People with experience of the prison system, People with literacy difficulties, People with mental health challenges, Refugees and/or people seeking international protection, Women, Women returning to the workplace, Young Adults, Roma Community, LGBT+ Community, Traveller Community

Solution

This course gathered a global community willing to listen, to speak and act. This course has changed minds and in time will change lives. Communication channels were multiple using various media, the toastmaster speechcraft course, email, zoom, audio calls and WhatsApp plus a group drive with all documentation filed appropriately. Students work at a self-directed pace all the while being encouraged via regular contact with the guides, course organisers and their assigned sustainability group of peers and guides. The 2 hour weekly (8) zoom sessions had a plenary welcome, a guest speaker and then the learners were broken out into groups of 5. On this occasion, there were Community, Technology or Polymer.  This was to support the time zones and the different learning/communication styles of the students and guides.

The first meeting was a writing skills tutorial, subsequent weekly meetings were organised around the following themes; Prepare to present, Learn how to evaluate, Organising your speech, Learn how to craft your message, Speech delivery incorporating body language and vocal variety, culminating in a Showcase Event having learned, How to speak persuasively! A follow up meeting readdressed issues related to writing techniques. This global course targets adults are interested in sustainability and want to learn how to articulate practical and realistic actions related to Sustainability and Climate Change thus instrumental in Global Citizenship Education.

Unique Selling Point

Sustainability Speechcraft is a learner centred course. Each student is assigned a guide based on best fit from background, interests and time zones. The guides role is to provide guidance, advice and encouragement over the duration of the course.

Growth becomes evident over the weeks. There was also a guide to support the written word, providing support on editing and providing clear written documentation. Whilst the focus is on preparing speeches, students are also shown how to introduce another speaker and how to deliver feedback on a speech in real time, effectively impromptu speaking. Learning the advantages of being able to receive and deliver an evaluation is an important part of the course as it is by constructive feedback that we all improve!

Sustainability Speechcraft encourages learners to actively participate in the course on a weekly basis by having an open discussion at the end of each meeting on how they think the programme is facilitating their needs. It also provides a safe space

for learners to discuss ideas related to sustainability. These aspects of the course provides organisers with valuable information on improving the ‘Sustainability Speechcraft’ initiative.

Impact

The Sustainability Speechcraft project had an impact on learners, speech crafters and toastmasters alike. Speechcrafters, gained confidence to speak in public, or those that already spoke in public, greater clarity for their audience. Mary Mulvey, who

sits on the Irish Tourism Board said, “it was the best communication course she had ever attended”. Toastmasters changed their minds on issues that were raised as part of the speeches and some adult learners are engaging in their local community

now on sustainable issues (Annetta Works Salley). Dorey Nolan will write a children’s story on recycling directly as a result of attending this course.

Adult learners on this course will have greatly improved how they use words to connect with people. Being able to converse on sustainability topics in a clear, effective and engaging manner is a powerful dynamic that the adult learners can utilize in their daily lives personally amongst family / friends and is impactful in relationships with work colleagues. A new found confidence also means that the adult learner can broach their particular sustainability topic for the betterment of this existential climate change crisis community wide and/or by being pro-active in communicating improved sustainability practices. With over 100 different delegates it was a successful course with connections made that will continue and potentially develop into collaborations to drive sustainability and achieve the Paris agreement targets of 1.5C.

Dr. Shirley Galagher: 

https://ie.linkedin.com/posts/shirleygallagher_public-speaking-lets-talk-sustainability-activity-6993935308920606721-otMB?trk=public_profile_like_view