Last Updated: Monday, July 11, 2022

Developing talking skills - making a pitch – third and fourth level

What is this?

Find some ideas to support you to design an activity on listening and talking which you can use or adapt for learners in your class while they are working remotely. This learning activity is based on third/fourth level experiences and outcomes.

Young people will continue to develop their verbal and non-verbal communication skills. They will  deepen their knowledge of different language features by making a marketing pitch. This will be in favour of advertising either in local and national newspapers and on terrestrial television, or online on social media platforms and streaming services. The adverts could be about the promotion of products, viewpoints, local/ national initiatives or another topic of choice.

When designing learning activities, think about the range of learners in your class and their individual circumstances.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) experiences and outcomes: Third and fourth level

When listening and talking with others for different purposes,
I can:

  • communicate information, ideas or opinions;
  • explain processes, concepts or ideas; and
  • identify issues raised, summarise findings or draw conclusions. (LIT 3-09a)

When listening and talking with others for different purposes, I can:

  • communicate detailed information, ideas or opinions
  • explain processes, concepts or ideas with some relevant supporting detail; and
  • sum up ideas, issues, findings or conclusions. (LIT 4-09a

Purpose of the activity

This activity is designed to help young people develop further their communication skills by exploring what makes an effective spoken text. Young people will present a viewpoint clearly and expressively by using language creatively and rhetorical devices effectively.

Learning activities

Using whichever method you use to share home learning activities with the young people in your class, consider the following:

You might ask young people to make a pitch to a panel of their family/ classmates. They will promote either advertising in local and national newspapers and on television, or alternatively, advertising online on social media platforms and streaming services in a talk lasting two minutes. The adverts could be about the promotion of products, viewpoints, local/ national initiatives or another topic of your choice.

Young people must also anticipate what possible questions they might be asked about the merits of their pitch by their audience and prepare possible responses.

This activity could be a peer/ group exercise, or an independent learning exercise. This task is well suited for young people to undertake collaboratively, using whichever online platform your school uses. You might find this resource from Education Scotland helpful to facilitate this: Learning and Teaching Online

  • You might ask young people to consider what makes an effective speech. Ask them to identify any speeches they have found memorable in film or in real life and reflect on what has made these speeches so memorable.
  • Ask them to identify what elements such as rhetorical devices, delivery style or convincing argument made those speeches so effective in their eyes.

There are video examples of speeches widely acknowledged to be highly effective at the link below to ‘Scotland Speaks’, on the English Speaking Union (Scotland) website.

  • Ask young people to research the advantages of the pitch selected for or by them. They should then use their research and note making skills to choose relevant information to make their pitch convincing.
  • In addition, what persuasive language and technical devices will they employ? Ask them to note these down, as part of planning the structure of their talk.
  • You might also consider asking young people to ensure that their talk includes: engaging openers; linking phrases that move a line of thought on; words or phrases that introduce a contrast or change of direction; words or phrases that highlight or emphasise points; summarising statements; and concluding points.
  • Tone – how will young people express their point? Will they use verbal gestures, vary their voice or eye contact?

As an additional activity, young people could develop further their listening and talking skills by listening to the pitches of their classmates and then posing questions.

  • While they are listening, ask the young people to note any information which is new or unfamiliar or that they might wish to question further.
  • In their opinion, have their classmates made a persuasive pitch? What techniques did they use?

National Benchmarks

Depending on a young person’s individual stage of development and their prior learning, they will be working towards these benchmarks, by the end of third/fourth level.

Third level

  • Communicates in a clear expressive way in a variety of contexts.
  • Presents ideas, information or points of view including appropriate detail or evidence.
  • Organises thinking and structures talks to present ideas in a logical order.
  • Introduces and concludes talks with some attempt to engage the audience.
  • Uses signposts throughout talks to provide a basic structure or argument, for example, topic sentences and/or linking phrases.
  • Uses appropriate tone and vocabulary for purpose and audience.
  • Applies verbal and non-verbal techniques in an attempt to enhance communication and engagement with audience, for example, eye contact, body language, emphasis, pace, tone and/or some rhetorical devices.
  • Selects and uses resources to enhance communication and engagement with audience.

Fourth level

  • Displays confidence and communicates in a clear, expressive way in a variety of contexts.
  • Presents ideas or information or sustains a point of view with relevant supporting evidence.
  • Structures talks in a clear and coherent way.
  • Introduces and concludes talks in a way that interests and engages the audience.
  • Uses signposts throughout talks to support a structured line of thought or argument, for example, topic sentences, linking phrases or concluding statements.
  • Adapts tone, vocabulary and language to communicate effectively with audience.
  • Applies a range of verbal and non-verbal communication skills to enhance communication and engagement with audience, for example, eye contact,
    body language, emphasis, pace, tone and/or rhetorical devices.
  • Selects and uses well-chosen resources to enhance communication and engagement with audience.

Possible approach to assessing learning

Receiving examples of learning at home from young people will help you understand how they are managing the tasks you have set and provide some feedback. Using whichever approaches your school uses to communicate with parents, some of the following may be useful in supporting you to assess and celebrate young people’s progress:

  • Ask young people to review and evaluate their own work. Alternatively they could review and assess their peers, if appropriate to the activity. They can highlight areas they did well in and where they had difficulty.
  • Some young people may want to upload a video of their pitch to their online learning journal or online learning space on Google classroom or Microsoft Teams. This will give you the opportunity to provide feedback and next steps.
  • Did the young people use language effectively and confidently, including the use of rhetorical devices, to make a convincing pitch?