Speaking in Public

I do a fair bit of public speaking at internal workplace events like parent information evenings, parent dinners, staff briefings, chairing meetings, staff professional learning workshops, presentations to councils and boards, VCE information sessions and community events through our Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation. I still speak at quite a few external events too, things like conference keynotes and workshops, facilitating panel discussions and chairing conferences.

Public speaking improves with deliberate practice and through studying the art and science of effective speaking and storytelling. I have no doubt about this as I used to be terrified of getting up in front of an audience. Sure, I still get nervous on occasion, but the minute I stop being slightly apprehensive about speaking in front of an audience is the moment I know I have become too comfortable.

Much planning goes into something like a keynote presentation but increasingly I am finding myself able to go off script and engage in a relatively unplanned presentation. This is absolutely true for smaller events where I am invited to provide a welcome speech or to provide a short presentation framing an evening.

Sometimes I still find value in writing out word for word what I am going to say. This doesn’t happen too often as I rarely have the luxury, but when I do I actually enjoy the process. I recently spoke at our Year 7 parent dinner to welcome exisiting and new families to our College. This is what I had to say.

Good Evening everyone. A warm welcome to you all on behalf of Dr Peter Miller, our Principal, who unfortunately can’t be here tonight as he is in Sydney on College-related business. My name is Adrian Camm and I am Director of Teaching and Learning here at the College and I have responsibility for the oversight, development and delivery of the College’s overall teaching and learning direction and the academic program from early learning through to Year 12. I am also the Director of our Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation that seeks to develop our staff professionally but to also offer educational events throughout the year to students, teachers and parents in our wider community.

Please be sure to keep your eye on our bulletin and also on our Facebook page for our many free events this year focusing on contemporary teaching and learning approaches, women in leadership and advice for parents in dealing with the many issues and challenges that present themselves throughout a child’s teenage years.

This is my 12th year in education and my 5th here at the College. I have had the great honour and privilege of receiving some humbling awards in my career to date including being named Australian Teacher of the Year at the 2009 Australian Awards for Teaching Excellence and in 2012 receiving the ACCE & ACS National Outstanding Leader of the Year Award. As a result of these awards I have had the great privilege and honour of working with and in hundreds of schools around the world, across government, catholic and Independent sectors, in areas of Japan, China, the US, the UK, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Singapore and of course in different parts of Australia. Having seen what other schools and education systems are doing, I can safely say that the experience that Geelong College offers its young women and men is right up there with the best in the world.

Our teaching and learning programs are underpinned by our Vision for Learning which I encourage you all to access on our College website if you haven’t read it already. Our Vision for Learning describes our teaching and learning philosophy not in terms of discreet subjects, specifics or narrow measures, but in terms of seven holistic and conceptual dimensions: Enterprise, Creativity, Creating, Contributing, Identity, Communicating & Thinking and outlines how the most important aspect of a modern education is “learning how to learn.”

There are some parts of a modern education that look very similar to when you were all in school – we still want our children to be highly literate and numerate and to have strong moral and ethical principles, teachers still ‘teach’, but with the world changing rapidly a modern education now also requires that young people be skilled in the use of technology, be entrepreneurial, to be able to solve complex problems in complex and unfamiliar situations, to be adaptable, independent, flexible and to develop the disposition of curiosity – because throughout their lifetime they will need to continually be learning. Gone are the days when you got your education in secondary school and university and that then would hold you in good stead for the rest of your career. To succeed in the future our young women and men need to see themselves as true lifelong learners.

Our teachers recognize this and engage in constant learning themselves, modelling for our young people what it means to be a learner. Indeed 17 of our teaching staff have this year embarked on post-graduate research study to ensure we continue to adapt and stay at the forefront of current approaches to teaching and learning ensuring the best possible experience for our young people. I know each of our 135 teaching staff individually. And I know that each and every one of them work late into the night, every night, preparing for the next day, and when they come through the school gates each morning they are all asking themselves the same question – they are asking themselves, “How do I make the next 6.5 hours, the most rewarding, memorable, personalized and engaging, 6.5 hours of these young people’s lives?”

Whether you are new to the College in 2018 or have been with us for some years, we look forward to working closely with you all for many years to come, in a partnership, ensuring your children all exceed their potential and are well equipped to face a rapidly changing world. Wishing you all a fantastic evening of conversation, food, beer and wine and all the best for the rest of the year. Thank you very much. Have a great night.