Enrichment Week: Talk the Talk

Posted: 21st June 2024

students having a meeting

Talk the Talk

Year 10 pupils attended a talk by the author and activist Laura Bates followed by oracy workshops run by the organisation Talk the Talk at St Aloysius school. Thirty St Aloysius pupils joined them for the day. Laura Bates’s talk focused on the power of storytelling to challenge gender stereotypes and her own new young-adult novel Sisters of Sword and Shadow (available to buy at the discounted price of £8.00 from the Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill – just mention you are from Channing). Also in the workshops, pupils completed the ‘Talk About Communication’ workshop which was an exciting and engaging master class developing speaking and listening skills. The workshop provided numerous speaking opportunities and students were coached and supported throughout the day to deliver a structured two-minute presentation on a topic for which they had a genuine passion, to their peers.

Pupil Testimony:

On Wednesday, Year 10 Channing and St Aloysius students had the opportunity to participate in a range of activities related to careers and oracy. The day began with a talk from the author Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project ( She explained the immense impact that the stories that we are subjected to from birth have on our stereotypes, and how discriminative reporting in newspapers and magazines can prevent women from aspiring to be in positions of political power, furthering the problem. This is what led Bates to creating her website: a platform for people all over the world to share their experiences with sexism. With her project having grown into a global movement, she has been able to use the stories shared by individuals in parliament, schools, and the White House, amongst many other places, to change school curriculums and to tackle the way in which we respond to discrimination internationally.

After reflecting upon the books that shaped her childhood, Laura was inspired to write her debut fantasy novel, Sisters of Sword and Shadow, to change the mindsets of young people around the world. Her book tells the story of Cass, a seventeen-year-old girl living in Arthurian England rebelling against a society where gender roles are rigidly enforced.

In the afternoon, students took part in a workshop run by ‘Talk the Talk’, an organisation specialised in teaching effective communication skills for success in both personal and professional spheres. We learnt a variety of vocal, visual and verbal techniques for clear and compelling public speaking: for example, we were shown the importance of eye contact and hand gestures, as well as using both anecdotes and facts to engage listeners. Another main focus of the workshop was on actively listening and providing and receiving supportive feedback to improve our skills. Working in groups, we met new people and worked together to give constructive feedback to our peers.

A huge thank you to all the teachers and staff involved in organising these events; we thoroughly enjoyed the day and we learnt many invaluable skills that will undoubtedly benefit us in the future!

Siana C 10RMn

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