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High School

High School Student Activities:

  • The following sources are from peer reviewed academic journals. They provide activities and other useful information for high school teachers to get their students thinking about public speaking. You may have to request full access to these articles. All of these sources are examples from the “Communication Teacher” Journal.
    • Janack, J. (2020). Persuade the professor: A data-mining simulation. Communication Teacher, 1–6.
    • Peters, C. (2020). Creating collective poems to teach interpersonal and family communication concepts. Communication Teacher34(4), 282–286.
    • Paul, A. (2020). Memes as means for understanding interpersonal communication: A formative assignment. Communication Teacher34(4), 346–354.
    • Hintz, E., & Huber, A. (2019). Verbs, visuals, and vignettes: Incorporating images into the impromptu speaking exercise. Communication Teacher34(3), 1–7.
    • Travis, E. (2020). Drawing students into public-speaking success. Communication Teacher34(2), 118–124.
    • Cooper, T. (2019). The impromptu rhetorical situation. Communication Teacher33(4), 262–265.
    • Vartabedian, S., & Klinger, L. (2019). 4Ps: A purposeful introduction. Communication Teacher33(1), 16–20.



Additional Ideas from Students:

While doing research for this page, we asked some of our students what activities they did in high school that helped them prepare for public speaking at the college level.

One student mentioned that their instructor had them write 20 random things on a notecard (it could be any person, place, or thing). Then, at any given point during the school year the teacher would pull their notecard, pick a random thing off their list, and the student had to talk about it in front of the class for a minute. This could be especially helpful with preparing for impromptu speeches.

Another student described that their high school history and english teachers had them do mock trials. In some assignments students would have to work in teams and one person would be in charge of the opening statement, another with the closing statement, etc. The student said this helped them with understanding persuasive speaking as well as team speeches. In other mock trail situations, the instructor would assign each student a historical figure. They would have to research that person and eventually and act as that figure in class for “trial”. The instructor would be the “prosecutor” and ask the student questions when they were on the stand. This helped the student develop research skills as well as getting comfortable answering unknown questions in front of an audience.

A student mentioned an activity similar to the historical figure mock trial, where they were assigned a historical figure and then had to research that figure. Then they had a “dinner party” in class where the student had to bring in a visual aid of some sort to help describe their historical figure and present it to the class. This helped the students understand the importance of visual aids, as well as encouraging their research skills.

Lastly, a student said that they had socratic seminars on the books they were reading in their english class. The student claimed that this helped the student get more comfortable with speaking and sharing their thoughts in front of the class. This also taught this student how to respectfully argue different ideas with their classmates.