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We get asked a lot of questions about our wonderful program. We’ve compiled the answers to our most frequently answered questions.  If you have a question that is not answered here, feel free to email us: 


What do you do in the course?

The Speakers’ School course runs for 14 weeks, each class being held once a week from 6-9pm. You’ll be provided with a healthy meal, and a break each evening. A childcare and travel stipend is available should you require it. 

The course curriculum changes based on the students – we strive to make it interesting and informative for each group!

The class is divided into two sections: (1) practical public speaking practice and (2) presentations from local social justice oriented groups.

Practical speaking lessons include:

  • relaxation techniques

  • how to choose a topic

  • how to identify your “main points” and how to make them

  • writing a speech to suit your audience

  • how to write an effective speech

  • how to use a microphone

Throughout the course you will be working on a three to five minute (maximum) speech that you will present at a Graduation ceremony. 

What do I write my speech on?

You can write your speech on absolutely anything that you are passionate about! Do not worry if you come to the class with many ideas for speech topics, or none at all. Throughout the course a series of guest speakers from local social justice organizations come and share information. Oftentimes students will find that the guest speakers introduce them to a topic that they become interested in, and they write their speeches on that.

No topic is off limits! Our facilitator is always available to meet with you outside of class hours to help you decide on a topic and how to proceed.

For example, previous students have spoken on:

  • living with HIV

  • addiction

  • recovery

  • the importance of arts in mental health recovery

  • bullying

  • widows

  • world food shortage

  • accomplishments of First Nations peoples

  • importance of Aboriginal elders

  • community re-localization

  • Aboriginal leadership

  • faith

  • workplace injury

  • racial discrimination

  • poverty

  • raising a child with a disability

  • brain injury

  • importance of having a family doctor

What happens if I can’t make it to a class?

We encourage students to attend all classes – if possible. We realize that for many, there are barriers to participating. That is why we provide a travel and child care subsidy to students who require it. If there is an event beyond your control and you cannot attend, please contact the facilitator of the course. They will work out a plan to meet with you, or give you the materials you may have missed.

What type of guest speakers give presentations?

Each class features a guest speaker from a local community justice oriented group. In the past we have been fortunate to have excellent presentations on/from:

  • The Welfare Wall – issues with the Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Programs

  • Diversity – Aboriginal Liason for the City of Thunder Bay

  • Advocacy 101 – AIDS Thunder Bay

  • The History of the Injured Workers’ Struggle – Thunder Bay Injured Workers

  • Employment Assistance -

  • Anti-Oppression, Anti-Racism – the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre

  • Resources in the Community – Lakehead Social Planning Council

  • Poverty Issues – Poverty Free Thunder Bay

  • Respect

  • Formal Speaking Practice – Toastmasters

  • Human Rights – Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic


Is there homework?

There is no homework in the traditional sense. We do give you information to think about, and activities to do when you are outside of the class, such as providing three examples of topics which interest you. We do not require you to submit any written information, we just ask for your participation in class at a level which is comfortable to you.

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