Public Speaking: The INPAS Undertakes Training at the Lycée français d’Alexandrie

From May 5 to 30, 2019, students of CM2 A, B and C of the Lycée français d’Alexandrie in Egypt took part in a public speaking and structured debate Workshop conducted by  Narcisse Fomekong, Director of Programmes and Training for the INPAS.

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It is a common practice for the students of the Lycéé français d’Alexandrie to perform during theatre courses. However, the first six of the ten sessions of the workshop undertaken in each of the three CM2 classes focused on the basic techniques of eloquence. Thus, tips for vocalization, voice modulation, gesture, arguments structuring, counterargument techniques were taught.  During two of the six first sessions, students were initiated into structured debate. Using the Beyrouth debate format, with two teams comprising four debaters each, participants played the different roles of the game: Prime Minister (PM), Minister 1 (M1), Minister 2 (M2), Secretary General of the Government (SGG), Opposition Leader (OL), Member of Parliament 1 (MP1), Member of Parliament 2 (MP2) and the Secretary General of the Opposition (SGO). Students who participated in the game received good training insofar as they were acquainted with values advocated by structured debate.  These values include the acceptance of contradiction and diversity of opinion, respect for the opponent and courtesy.

Applied Public Speaking

During theworkshops, the concept of “applied public speaking” was tried out. Indeed, the three CM2 classes worked on different projects and the exercises practiced during the last four sessions made it possible to adapt public speaking and structured debate to the presentation of these projects. In the class of CM2 A, the exercise consisted in assisting students in writing and presenting speeches on the “ecological city” project on which they had been working for months. As a result, on Thursday May 30, they made a brilliant presentation of that project before the school administration.

In the class of CM2 B, the last sessions of the workshop focussed on poetry, with the objective of adapting them to slam. This helped students like Adam, Youssef and their classmates to acquire some vocalization techniques. Moreover, a mini competition was organised in the same class in order to select the student who will prepare a speech geared towards the students of terminale. Mr Roger Fontaine, the class Instructor, expressed his happiness and promised to “draw from the workshop to improve the theatrical performances of his students” who are preparing for a theatrical event by the end of this year.

 Concerning the class of CM2 C, the last four sessions of the workshop were dedicated to repetitive debates. Several motions on sport in school, air pollution, the place of women in society etc. helped to discover talented speakers. Jeremy and Sina among others, expressed their wish to participate in national and international championships of eloquence and structured debate. The class is tutored by Mr. Hugo who joyfully declared: “the debate is fantastic; it develops students’ critical and communicational capacities. I will certainly proceed with debate in some courses instruction”.  

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At the end of the  public speaking and structured debate workshops which took place simultaneously with those of tales, poetry and slam in CP, CE1 and CE2 classes, the school expressed its wish to carry on these activities in the next school year. In this perspective, a framework agreement was signed between the Lycée français d’Alexandrie, represented by its Principal, Jérôme Le Bars and the International Network for the Promotion of Art of Speech in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (INPAS), represented by its Director of Programmes and Training, Narcisse Fomekong Djeugou.

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It should be recalled that these activities were coordinated by Mrs Hosny Odrey, Head of the primary section at the Lycée français d’Alexandrie. She showed happiness towards the intervention of the INPAS instructor and is looking forward to pursuing the adventure. “All the teachers and students are satisfied and we are looking forward to undertaking the experience next year”, she said.

The INPAS, in its quest for the promotion of public speaking, is continuously working to extend its activities throughout Egypt, a country with a great interest for public speaking practice. Francophone secondary schools to which belong the French High Schools are the most interested.

By Narcisse Fomekong and Willy Stéphane Zogo

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