Speeches that changed the world
Explore key historic figures through their speeches & use acting techniques to help students step into their shoes
This resource is part of our Teaching for Creativity series
History is shaped by individuals in particular times and places, tolerating uncertainty, daring to be different, sticking with difficulty and speaking up for making change. In these three learning sequences, pupils will explore key historic figures through their speeches that shaped and are shaping history: Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Mary Prince, and Malala Yousafzai.
Increasingly, we've come to know these historical figures through portrayals on stage and screen. These learning sequences – created by Butterfly Theatre Company – use the approaches of an actor to inhabit the life of a character. In exploring these figures and the powerful speeches they made, pupils will be fuelled to explore their own sense of justice, what they feel strongly about, and what speech they will create for themselves.
Key Stage 2
A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.
Key Stage 3
- Ideas, political power, industry, and empire: Britain, 1745-1901
- Challenges for Britain, Europe, and the wider world, 1901 to the present day
- Understand how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
- Gain a historically grounded understanding of ‘segregation’, ‘abolition’, and ‘civil and human rights’
- Gain historical perspective by placing young people’s growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between national and international history; between cultural, political, religious and social history
Objectives and outcomes
- I can understand how history and social change can be affected through the efforts of individuals
- I can understand how historic figures have persuaded others to see their point of view and gain confidence in using these skills myself
- KS2 – I can give informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information
- KS3 – I can create relevant, structured evidentially supported accounts in response to an enquiry
- I have shown persistence and tenacity by sticking with something I found difficult in order to come up with a good idea
- I have been able to learn from and empathise with other people’s experiences
Creative habit: Persistence
As teachers, we all know that young people benefit from learning about their own learning.
These sequences focus on the skill of persistence: learning to articulate it as part of a growth mindset, to assess it in self-reflection and, in turn, to link this creative capacity to the historic figures they are exploring.
Aileen Gonsalves, Artistic Director at Butterfly Theatre Company, shares some tips for delivering Looking for parallels – Lesson 1, Activity 3 in the resource.
Follow on task: Can you as the teacher notice what objectives and tactics you use as teachers in your daily life? At home or at school? Notice a person being interviewed live on tv like a politician and notice their objectives and tactics in order to share with students.
Assessment for learning
Tracy Irish, Education Consultant at Butterfly Theatre Company, offers some tips and guidance for supporting students, measuring success, and embedding the creative habit.
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