How important is it for children to practice public speaking?
We are glued to our smartphones. With social media in the palm of our hands, radios in our ears and essays typed up on tablets; technology can seem to be taking over. There are a growing number of benefits that comes with welcoming technology into our classrooms, but the absence of traditional forms of communication can have negative effects. Students who learn to speak confidently do better in life and public speaking is a great tool to build on such skills.
Public speaking is essentially talking out loud in front of a group of people. The group can be anyone from strangers at a conference, family members, like at a wedding reception or, in front of peers at school or university. A speech will have a purpose, that can include being
informative, persuasive, entertaining or celebratory.
Speaking or presenting in front of a crowd is a practical skill to master. It combines writing and researching components as well as audience awareness. Practicing, perfecting and being self aware are all skills that can be learnt, and that’s before mustering up the courage to execute the speech. It will be a challenge, but it’s a vital and relevant skill to have under your belt throughout adulthood.
Inviting a professional guest speaker into schools can be a fantastic approach to showcase public speaking in its true form. As this is a break from the traditional way of teaching, students will recognise this as an exciting opportunity to learn something new. You’ll often find that breaking up a lesson plan will improve class engagement. A speech can support a subject, teach a valuable lesson or give the students inspiration with final exams or their
Public speaking is no easy feat and it can take a lot of practice to perfect your technique. If public speaking is practiced regularly in school, the fundamentals of speaking aloud can be learnt before the skill will become truly viable. Pushing a child out of their comfort zone will boost overall confidence, as well as encouraging the necessary skills that can be transferred throughout their school and working life.
A transferable skills that can be taught is the ability to generate and research content ideas and to structure them in a comprehensive way, that has a clear start, middle and an end. As well as the vital preparation and time management skills, presenting techniques can be taught too. Learning good communication skills from a young age is a vital part of growing up. If you can teach professional communication techniques, children will be able to use them more naturally and without conscious thought throughout adulthood.
As around55% of communication is achieved through our body language, teaching good posture, eye contact and controlled hand gestures, is as important as teaching clear sentence structure in speech writing.
As public speaking is nerve-racking for any adult, let alone a child, you can expect some common nervous traits to filter through. Speaking too fast can be problematic, as well as mumbled speech and inaudible tones. For the success of this lesson to be transferred into adult life, a comfortable and relaxed environment needs to be created. Practicing public
speaking should be an enjoyable experience. A bit of encouragement and praise goes a long way when a child is faced with something they may fear.
Public speaking is a challenging thing to master, but with the right training and in a supported environment, students will benefit from what’s learnt for the rest of their lives.