Why Public Speaking Teaches Kids Crucial Life Skills
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By: Rosie Stevens, ellaslist
What memories do you conjure when public speaking crops up in conversation? Memories of awkward presentations in high school, eyes cast downwards, reading off a piece of paper, and slightly-less awkward iterations of that as you entered adulthood?
Invariably, public speaking is something that everyone struggles to grapple with in early-adulthood; the very age that we’re expected to be able to address audiences with charismatic ease, confidence and charm.
Imagine then, how much easier this would be if we were properly equipped with the necessary public speaking skills as children? Well, Sydney Speaking School is aiming to do just that—as they reach thousands of children through programs that teach the skills required for public speaking and debating in a fun, engaging way.
Here’s why equipping your child with public speaking skills is so important:
It’s An Essential Part Of Life
Whichever way you slice it, having the ability to speak publicly in today’s society is essential. “Regardless of how kids develop or where they end up going in life, they will be forced to share their opinion in a public forum - whether it be in front of a podium presenting to thousands of people, or something simpler like raising their hand in class or attempting to persuade a group of friends to do the right thing”, explains Mark Slaven, National Director of Speaking Schools Australasia.
The Australian school system is catching on to the importance of these skills, with an increasing number using class presentations and speeches as part of the assessment schedule. Ultimately encouraging your child to speak publicly will both stand them in good stead for school, but in especially good stead for life as a whole.
It Enhances Other Areas Of Learning
As your child masters the public speaking basics, they will quickly take these new-found skills into other parts of their learning journey.
The assurance that comes with being able to publicly voice their opinion will be pivotal for their confidence in other areas of life. With so many of a child’s communication channels in the digital age being reliant on written and pictoral forms (hello, social media), having the ability to look someone in the eye whilst conveying an opinion is understandably a challenge for many—but once mastered, can dramatically boost self esteem and confidence.
Similarly, critical thinking and the ability to think on their feet are lessons taught through public speaking and debating programs, that will greatly enhance other areas of your child’s learning.
It Helps To Combat Shyness
At Sydney Speaking School, the size of the classes is kept deliberately small in order to allow shy children to flourish.
“Often the key to shyness is the fear of embarrassment. The larger the class, the larger the potential impact if a student makes a mistake, or so the logic goes. Part of the reason we keep classes small is to encourage students to share more openly, and help them overcome their fears” says Mark.
The activities are also designed with shy kids in mind. Informal speaking activities allow kids to get involved without them actually realising that they’re public speaking, while group activities alleviate some of the pressure that shy, anxious children often feel.
Mark explains however that when it comes to putting shy children at ease, an empathetic, supportive and fun environment is the key, explaining that “as the students get up to present again and again (the programs are very practical, and involve multiple presentations every day), and things go well, the fear dissipates and the shyness alongside it.”
Sydney Speaking School runs holiday and term-time programs for kids of all ages, and focuses on empowering children to let their voices be heard.
Hero image: A Plus Program
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