Saturday, November 26, 2016

Teaching the Art of Speaking

One of my goals as a parent to three young children and as educator to more, is to impart the skill of speaking confidently.

In Singapore, parents and educators place such high premium on students' abilities in literacy and Math and how they could ace exams. Little emphasis is on one's ability to speak eloquently and confidently.

Let's be real, assessing students with the Oral exams in both the English and Chinese subjects twice a year is hardly enough to truly test if students have acquired the skills. It is at best, just another exam that students drill to get over with. To teach the art of speaking eloquently, it requires much more than preparing children to discuss the few commonly-tested topics a few weeks before the Oral exams. It requires an ongoing approach that actively teaches kids to find their voice, be aware of their choice of words and to learn to summon up courage to just utter the words, and this is just the beginning.

I remember growing up as a soft-spoken child who was tongue-tied in front of the big class of 44 during my early primary school years.

But my confidence grew when I was 10 years old, having discovered I was actually quite smart and that people would listen to what I had to say. I had a form teacher then who took the time to constantly challenge me to get out of my comfort zone, though thinking back, what he did was just the beginning of a long journey of finding my voice. But he did make me take the first step.

With my own kids, I adopted the best practices that I learnt through my 12 years of research to teach them the art of speaking since they were wee toddlers. Now that they are 12, 10 and 5, they are definitely not the average reserved children with no opinions of their own or too conscious to speak their minds. That said, I like to think that at this young age, they still have rooms for improvement in many aspects and are still just work-in-progress.

In all my lapbooking classes, I incorporate discussions and role-plays to teach students how to find their voice, express differing opinions and challenge one another's thinking.

I have shared more on our Facebook page including some fascinating stuff on one school's successes in teaching the art of speaking.  Read more at From Tiny Acorns Facebook page. 

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