|Posted by Nathalie on July 7, 2014 at 7:40 AM|
Article Writen for Hillscene 'zine, July 2014
By Sarah Hitchings O'Connor
Last week, I was lucky enough to watch a whole Grade 6 class transform. My son had been doing a public speaking course through his school called Yellow Lantern. It is an innovative course that brings even the shyest child out of their shell. My Bill wasn’t one of the shy ones, but on graduation night he forgot to bring his speech. He knew if off by heart but with an audience in front of him he froze. Amazingly he handled it with a grace I had never seen before. Instead of bursting in to tears he said “give me a moment” before going behind a partition to pull himself together. Luckily his dad went to the rescue and had his speech there by the end of the night. Bill got up, did the deep breathing exercises he had practiced in the course, and delivered his speech like a champion.
The focus for all the kids isn’t about not making mistakes or being the most composed, it’s about being your true self to the best of your ability. When the onus is taken off of the performance itself the children just shine. I’m not the only one who sees the fantastic benefits in such a program. Rachel, whose daughter Aisha did the course last year, told me. “My daughter was always a pretty confident public speaker so I wasn't sure what she would get out of the course other than just reinforcement of what she already knew. I was so wrong. She learnt a new level of empowerment and self-belief that translates well beyond the scope of public speaking. It has put her in such good stead as she navigates the challenges of high school”.
I spoke with Nathalie Brewer, Director of Yellow Lantern about the reasons she has devised this much needed program. “I created Yellow Lantern because I saw a need for an alternative to traditional and outdated public speaking programs”. “Public Speaking coaching for kids should be about self-acceptance and belief in the self, not merely tools and techniques. The truth is, piling a heap of rules on a young speaker, such as body posture, hand movements and the worst one of all "never say um" is in my experience counter productive, and in some cases damaging”.
“The Yellow Lantern approach is different. We teach kids how to express from their heart, make mistakes, breath powerfully and be themselves in front of an audience. However that looks. The results are so much more than the 'ability to give a good speech'”.
Tanya Cooke, principal at Menzies Creek Primary School shared her insight into the Yellow Lantern program with me. ‘We are delighted with the Yellow Lantern Course as it commences from a basis of developing huge self-belief within each child which then allows them to become confident public speakers. Turning anxiety into excitement and various other strategies appeals to the students and engages them in a process that will positively contribute to their future life.'
What are Nathalie’s goals for the future of Yellow Lantern? “From our humble beginnings at Menzies Creek Primary 3 years ago, the Yellow Lantern approach to public speaking is gaining traction in schools across Melbourne and now in NSW and QLD. Our trained facilitators are vibrant educators who come from counselling and life coaching backgrounds. We offer Yellow Lantern programs in schools and also in private coaching sessions for locally organised peer groups”.
For me, the proof is in the pudding so to speak. Yellow Lantern caters to children of all abilities and is a wonderful program for giving kids self-confidence and inner happiness. I have seen children too scared to get up at assembly, doing their speeches proudly and with a smile on their faces. What more could you ask for?
Categories: The Yellow Lantern Approach