Even older students tend to dislike public speaking – in fact, most adults aren’t huge fans either. And yet public speaking is a crucial skill to develop for both school and later life, and there are plenty of ways to get your students excited about the prospect.
Here are just five useful tips.
- Practice Plenty
For some students, the only time they’ll address the whole class is when they’re being graded. That’s only going to make the situation more nerve-wracking. The key is to incorporate public speaking throughout the year. Having your students speak to the class at odd points without worrying about getting marked is going to help make the activity feel more familiar and manageable.
- Start with Smaller Groups
Before your students start addressing the whole class, try breaking into smaller groups. Keeping friends together is a good idea – you want everyone to feel relaxed. By starting small, students have a chance to develop their speaking skills without needing to project for the whole room or concern themselves with how the entire class will react.
- Teach Technique
When we teach persuasive writing, we provide techniques for students to use. Unfortunately, the same is rarely true when we teach public speaking. You don’t need to be turning out world-class showmen, but you can provide a few techniques for getting a message across.
- Provide Examples
As well as teaching techniques, you should show them in action. It helps children to see people speaking confidently to crowds, especially if the subject matter is entertaining. Look online for an interesting Ted Talk, or consider your student’s interests and find something that suits.
- Make it an Event
Students are used to working steadily towards one fixed goal, so it only makes sense to follow that pattern when it comes to public speaking. Teaching about technique and breaking into smaller groups is great, but it helps to let your students know that such lessons are building up to something. For example, you might have a final couple of lessons in which each student picks a subject and provides a 2-minute presentation to the class.