Talking in front of a group of people can send even the bravest into a panic. But speaking in public doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be pretty fun!

“Public speaking is just like anything else in life,” said Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education & Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “Practice makes perfect. The more opportunities youth have to speak – in school and at home – the more confident they will become in their abilities.”

To help students exercise their public speaking skills, YouthQuest will focus on storytelling, presenting, debating and more in February. For example:

  • Students in grades K-2 will create a commercial for a random object, such as a toothbrush. After presenting to the group, students will talk about what they liked about each commercial as well as ideas for improvement.
  • After reading “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs,” students in grades 3-6 will have to prepare an argument that supports whether or not the Big Bad Wolf was guilty. Opposing teams will have the chance to defend their point of view, introducing everyone to the concept of debate.

Want to help extend your student’s learning beyond YouthQuest? Families can try some of the following activities to keep youth engaged at home in the evening, on Fridays and during the weekend:

  • Ask open-ended questions at the dinner table. For example, you might ask, “What is one thing you learned today?” or “Did you do something kind for someone else today?” Ask follow-up questions to keep the conversation going.
  • Pass the story stick! Find an object, such a stick or ball, that can be passed on from speaker to speaker. After you’ve said a few sentences, pass the story stick on to your student or another family member. They should add three or four sentences and then pass the story stick to another person. Only the person with the story stick speaks. The stories should make sense as they proceed. Some children will need more encouragement or ideas.

FOR OLDER STUDENTS

Rather than use themes, YouthQuest’s middle and high school programs aim to encourage leadership through short-term and long-term clubs. In some cases, students even lead certain clubs, like STEP at Southwestern Classical Academy. To help build their confidence at home, ask your student to teach you something he or she learned at school or YouthQuest – such as a new dance move or how to solve a math problem.

 

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