Public speaking is a skill that can benefit you for life. The earlier you master the art and science of public speech, the more time you have to enjoy the benefits it can bring to your personal and professional life. Unfortunately, delivering a speech in public is often rated as the number one fear in surveys; people are generally more fearful of giving a speech in public as compared to jumping from great heights, facing insects, and even facing death!
Therefore, the best time to pick up public speaking is when one is in school. Seek to conquer the fear of public speaking before entering the workforce.
Here are three techniques teachers can use to support their students in honing their public speaking skills.
Technique #1: Start small by asking open-ended questions
If your students are shy or introverted by nature, you can start getting them to speak up by asking open ended questions. Open-ended questions facilitate thinking, learning and speaking by allowing students to elaborate and expand on their answers. For example, you can ask questions such as “What would you do if you are the main character in the story?”, “What new ideas do you have with regards to this project?” or “What are the pros and cons of… ?”
Then, get students to start sharing their answers and opinions even by speaking out from their desks. This is one way to kickstart their learning process on public speaking.
Technique #2: Create more opportunities to speak
As a teacher, there are many ways in which you can create more opportunities for students to speak in class. For example, appoint a student to deliver a three-minute presentation on what they have learned in the previous class. You can also appoint a student to deliver a short speech on what they have done for a recent group or individual project, or deliver a short presentation on how they have managed to solve a mathematics question. The possibilities are endless!
The bottom-line is to give students opportunities to speak whenever the opportunity arises. You can build these opportunities into your curriculum in a purposeful manner.
Technique #3: Always be encouraging
Students who are shy will need lots of encouragement to stand in front of their classmates in the first place. Give them your greatest encouragement, acknowledge the strengths in their public speaking skills that they already possess, and embrace mistakes. After all, these are learning opportunities for your students, isn’t it?
These three methods presented in this article are designed to kickstart the public speaking journey of students in your class. They also create the foundations in which other instructional methods of public speaking can be subsequently employed. Therefore, give these techniques a try in your next class.