As part of the IGCSE English Language curriculum, our students look at a variety of writing types such as speeches, letters, reports, interviews and so on. And as a British international school, we routinely embed British values into our lessons across the curriculum, whilst stimulating debate and independent critical thinking, which are an important aspect of our curriculum and give our students key skills they will need for further education and life.

In the last week, our Year 10 students have been debating the freedom of speech and individual liberty, then producing a speech arguing either for or against the topic. Here are two A graded examples of their work, passionately supporting the freedom of speech:

Freedom of Speech is essential

Hello everyone, thank you for joining me today. In this speech, I want to address a very important issue, and that is our freedom of speech. Today, we live in a world where everyone is free to express their ideas, opinions, and beliefs without any restrictions. However, some people are against freedom of speech, so I want to highlight what makes it so vital for our society, change, and our future.

The truth is, there will always be someone on the top of the hierarchy, someone with the power to dictate others’ rights, and they will always have the freedom to say whatever they want to say. Even if freedom of speech is taken away from the general public, and punishments are implemented for speaking your mind, there will always be people who will get to avoid them because of their high position in society. This is why it is important for everyone to be able to share their point of view, because otherwise, our rights would be restricted and decided upon by a small and privileged group of people who do not care about the well-being of anyone but themselves.

Furthermore, freedom of speech is extremely important in order for us to expand our views. Taking away freedom of speech would be taking away our freedom to share our own ideas and hear opposite opinions on certain topics and issues. This would result in everyone thinking the same way, which would impede development of our society and prevent us from improving the quality and way of life. However, when everyone is able to say what they think without restrictions, we get to hear new points and suggestions we haven’t thought of before, and open our minds to broader ideas. This opens up countless possibilities for improvement and progression of our society.

Freedom of speech is as essential to humankind as the freedom to move or think. No matter how great a thought is, it has no worth until it is said aloud and shared with others who will listen and share their own thought on the same matter. By freely speaking to each other, we learn to respect one another, even when we disagree, and that is the key to a society where everyone’s voice is heard. Thank you for listening.

Lara, Year 10

Freedom, Rights and Liberty

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Today I will be talking about freedom of speech and why such a thing is a human right not to be taken away or distorted by forces of totalitarian control who wish to suppress you as a human being.

In recent times the world has been rocked by a conflict between Israel and Palestine, opinions and statements have been thrown around, arguments have broken out abroad and the hashtag Free Palestine has been trending all over the world, who do you support? Who’s in the right? I’m sure you all have your own ideas and beliefs but how would you feel if you couldn’t express yourself, if someone took away your right to speak, your voice?

In some places in the world people are punished, arrested or even killed for expressing an opinion that rivals the government. In China people are routinely sent to correctional facilities after expressing their distaste for the government. Is it right that someone loses their life and is forced to slave away in horrible conditions for merely exercising a basic human right? If you disagree with me I encourage you to exercise your right of freedom of speech, prove me right by proving me wrong.

You all use social media, I’m sure. Have you ever scrolled through the comments of a video and been shocked by someone's awful, hateful comment? I'm sure you have, but you must have seen many others where people congratulate and express positive feelings towards the creator. My point is that positivity outweighs negativity. Human beings want to be happy as a whole and studies have consistently shown that when others are happy we are more likely to be happy ourselves. Free speech is a double edged sword, however I am confident that more good is done than bad.

In fact in places where free speech is restricted there is a direct correlation with economic issues. Countries such as North Korea struggle economically as well as countries such as Cuba which was previously a dictatorship under Fidel Castro.

How could you allow a basic right to be taken away from you due to others disagreeing with you? Is it right to have one correct answer? One size fits all?

Thank you very much for your attention.

Felix, Year 10

More from Student Voice: