Most traditional curriculums, focused on student’s passive reception of content, are also inadvertently teaching children not to have an opinion on what they are learning, and, therefore, not expressing their ideas and insights.
But being able to passionately and respectfully present a well-founded, well-organized idea is crucial in a world where information abounds, and long-held beliefs are challenged. It is not only about writing a good essay, but it is also about being able to defend your point of view orally and in front of an audience.
At our school, Colegio Valle de Filadelfia, children begin to train in the art of public speaking when they reach third grade. They are responsible for every part of the process: selecting a topic of their interest, conducting research, writing a script, crafting their presentation, learning to handle the technical equipment, working on their body language and stage presence, and, finally, delivering a convincing speech. They do this both in English and in Spanish.
Last year, we even went beyond or goals as seven of our kids, ages 11 to 14, became TEDx speakers!
Whatever our children decide to pursue in life, the ability to use spoken language to inspire and move to action will undoubtedly serve them well. Words are powerful: let’s unleash their potential to change the world!
By Elisa Guerra