Sydney Speaking School
Learn by doing.
Safe. Fun. Educational. These are the three tiers that make up our core teaching philosophy, with our students at the centre of each.
Practice Makes Perfect
Central to our teaching philosophy is that students learn by doing. We keep our classes small to ensure every student has their turn, and receives extensive personal feedback.
As our founders know, it is hard to build the confidence to speak. We do our best to make sure every student is comfortable in their class to help them get over their fears.
The ability to speak in public is a lifelong skill. We do our best to ensure that each of our students learns something that they will carry with them for years to come.
Sydney Speaking School was the first iteration of the Australian Speaking Schools group, the largest interstate operator of public speaking and debating programs in the country. The organisation, which began its life in late 2014, was co-founded by Mark Slaven and Daniel Dummer in response to the lack of good quality education in public speaking for school students on the North Shore of Sydney. First opening its doors in January 2015 to a small group of less than 20 students at North Sydney, it has since expanded to provide coaching services to over a thousand students.
The team was joined by Benjamin Hewitt, one of Sydney Speaking School’s most experienced coaches, when Daniel stepped down in early 2016. Using their combined skills honed through years of experience, Benjamin and Mark continue to bring excellence to the fore using fun and engaging courses targeted at improving the speaking skills of primary and senior school students in Australia’s biggest city.
Mark has been an avid debater and public speaker since high school. He has competed in more national and international competitions than he can count, reaching the finals in at least a dozen tournaments and occasionally coming out victorious. His personal experience in the debating scene has led him to (amongst other things) coach at a number of prestigious schools across Sydney, run the Macquarie Schools Debating Program for many years, and be appointed as the Chief Adjudicator of the FED Interschool Debating Competition.
Outside of public speaking, Mark has a Bachelor of Laws (with First Class Honours) and Psychology from Macquarie University, and a Master of Laws from the Australian National University. Having spent many years practising commercial and environmental law, he now manages a number of small businesses, including his role as National Director of the Australian Speaking Schools.
His contribution to the public speaking and debating world was recognised when he was granted life membership of the Macquarie University Debating Society by popular vote.
Regional Director - NSW
Ben has been debating for over a decade, in high school he was in the Grand Final of the premiers debating challenge for two years running, winning it in his final year. He is a respected member of the debating community with 4 years of coaching experience. Ben’s passion for teaching is only rivalled by his love of debating, he is an active member of the debating community and continues to adjudicate the Eastside Competition, HICES and Premier’s High School debating competitions, among others.
Ben is the former president of the University of Wollongong Debating Society. He has competed and adjudicated at numerous international tournaments and domestic tournaments and has progressed to the finals series on numerous occasions.