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University of Texas at Austin
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A+ Modern Oratory

Grades 6-8; Topics are new each school year and are posted on this page.

Materials are created for one division: grades 6-8.

General Contest Information

In Modern Oratory, the sixth, seventh and eighth grade contestants will select one of the topics, determine the critical issues in the topic, and acknowledge both pro and con points citing support discovered in their research. Students will choose a side they will defend and support that side with additional evidence. Along with the skills of analysis, research, note-taking, documentation, evaluation and decision-making come those of delivery and the skill of memorization.

2023-2024 Modern Oratory Topics

Contestants must select one of the following topics for developing the oration.

  1. Are concerns around young people's social media use justified?
  2. Is the opioid crisis being adequately addressed by Texas communities?
  3. Can government do more to reduce poverty in the US?
  4. Has name-image-likeness been good for college sports?
  5. Does the United States have an effective justice system?

Students will deliver a three to six minute speech without the use of notes on their topic. In the process of preparing for the contest, the student will need to:

  1. define the problem;
  2. determine the pro and con issues;
  3. research the issue;
  4. look at both sides of an issue;
  5. reach a conclusion; and
  6. support that conclusion with documentation.

To achieve and maintain the educational goals of the contest activity, the teacher and/or parent may guide the development of the research and writing of the speech, but shall not be permitted to write the speech for the student.


Click here to download the Modern Oratory Evaluation Sheet