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How To Teach with Speeches - Meryl Streep Example

So,  I’m sure by now you’ve seen Meryl Streep’s viral Lifetime Award acceptance speech at the 2017 Golden Globes on Sunday.  In fact, I was blown away by her speech and used in it five tutoring sessions with upper intermediate and advanced ESL students this week alone!  I love using authentic materials and current events, so it was the perfect combination.

I couldn’t resist sharing it with all of you! So, today’s post  (strangely on a Saturday, I know!) is a brief highlight of how I used Meryl Streep’s speech to teach speaking and writing skills this week.   Want the whole lesson plan? It’ll be included in my free January printables package 🙂


Free Printables Library


Meryl’s Streep’s Golden Globe Speech

So, for those of you who haven’t seen Meryl Streep’s speech, I’ve embedded it here. Really, watch it now. It’s powerful, beautiful, and can definitely spark discussion (and speech writing tips) in your English class!



Powerful Themes in Speech

Use a few of the themes below to start a discussion with your class.  What does Meryl Streep’s speech say about the following issues? How does she convey her message? What is the opposing view?

  • Racism
  • Immigration
  • The role of political leaders/ the government
  • The role of the press
  • Freedom of Speech  (discuss other celebrities’ reactions on social media accounts, such as Twitter). Check out George Clooney’s response, for example.


Literary Devices in Speech

Here’s where the writing part comes in!  Have your students write down examples of literary devices they hear in Streep’s speech, and then have them write their own speech on a debate topic of their choice.

Here are a few  (specific examples are in my worksheet in the printables library):

  • Metaphor
  • Simile
  • Alliteration
  • Allusion


Want a worksheet to help you teach this lesson?  Simply head to my printables library. I’ll be posting the January printables in just a few days, so be sure that you have access!

Meryl Streep & Film

As a follow-up lesson,  a film study is always a fun way to engage your English class.  Actually, I think almost any film with Meryl Streep in it would work as a film study. She really is incredibly talented!    The Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia and The Iron Lady are some of my favourites.

Don’t know which films to use?  My exciting ebook with TED TALK and Film Study lesson plans is in the works!  Be sure to sign up at the bottom of this post to keep in the loop and be the first to know when it’s released!


Happy Teaching!



P.S.  Photography fans, I took the photo for the main image in this post in Vienna, Austria on a girls’ trip with one of my best friends, Camille, in 2008.

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