Being able to speak persuasively is a vital skill, and not just for politicians, business leaders and teachers. It is important for everyone because almost everyone will, at some point in their lives, have to persuade others. And yet these crucial skills are often overlooked and underdeveloped in schools and at a stage of life where pupils are often most responsive.
The former pupils of British public schools feature highly in politics and many top professions. Of course one reason is their privileged network of connections but they are also often very confident, fluent public speakers. These are skills that their schools have actively encouraged and developed in their pupils. It could be argued that for the sake of social equality all schools should teach children the public speaking skills they will need for life.
Agreed, not every student may be dreaming of holding public office, but there are many other school and social situations where public speaking and persuasion skills are essential. A job interview is a classic example.
A clear, confident speaking voice is an essential life skill that fosters self esteem and personal confidence.
School 21 in East London has put the teaching of oracy – skills in spoken language – at the forefront, alongside the teaching of literacy and numeracy, with amazing results. Peter Hyman, Co-Founder and Executive Headteacher at School 21 states:
One of the biggest barriers to the students we serve really getting on in life is a lack of good communication skills. We need to elevate speaking to the same level as reading and writing.
The video below shows the pupils preparing to show off their public speaking skills in front of real audiences. The results are truly impressive, but then they have been given physical, cognitive, linguistic and emotional training and encouraged to use peer feedback to reflect on their skills. Who, amongst us, can honestly say they wouldn’t benefit from exactly this sort of coaching?
You can read the full article here: Why The Art of Speaking Should Be Taught Alongside Math and Literacy | MindShift | KQED News
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, people are also aware of the great benefits to come from such an education. The Millennial Learning Centre in Janata, Indonesia is holding a workshop for young people to learn about public speaking. Teens as young as 11 can join in and are encouraged to ‘tell the message of their heart’. What a great opportunity for teenagers to learn the value of storytelling and presenting from such a young age.
If you’re interested in this event, click here for more information.