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Yellow Lantern Public Speaking for Kids

brightening pathways through public speaking for kids  

A Yellow Lantern Facilitator SHINES BRIGHT!

Posted by Yellow Lantern on July 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM

By Adrian Williams-Brett
Yellow Lantern Facilitator

I have just facilitated my first eight-week Yellow Lantern Public Speaking course at Ocean Shores Public School in the Northern Rivers of N.S.W. As I knew it would be, the experience was wonderfully rewarding, both for the students and for me. The students I was working with were the sixteen members of the school parliament - students with additional responsibilities in the school. They were a diverse and sparky group.


The school was running the course as part of their ‘creative arts program’. This program normally allows students to elect a subject – from drumming to capoeira, craft activities etc. My students had been told that as members of parliament they had to do the Yellow Lantern course and I don’t think they were all entirely happy about the prospect. Public speaking over Brazilian martial arts? No way! But the course took them by surprise, as it is designed to do, and well before the end of the first session I felt I had them all onside.


What strikes me about the Yellow Lantern training is that it predicts the objections a child is likely to have towards public speaking and then goes straight in and deals with those objections: the fear of making mistakes, the fear of talking to strangers, the fear of having nothing to say. These fears are immediately validated and the kids are empowered with simple yet powerful techniques for dealing with them. At the same time they are validated in being who they really are and encouraged to bring more of themselves to what they do. Indeed it is this aspect that I experienced as being the most important in bringing out the confident public speaker within them.


In the Yellow Lantern course they are asked right at the beginning to set their own goals and these goals are treasured, actually put in a treasure chest before their very eyes. Right from the word go they are not working to someone else’s agenda but being asked to form their own. This allows them to take a deeper level of responsibility for their own learning and they feel that and respond to it. It also means that the ‘buzz’ they get from the final sharing of their speech is all theirs. They set their goals, they choose their topic, they write their speech, they present it in their own style and they are the ones to reflect on how far they came towards meeting their own expectations of themselves. Without exception the children in my group felt they had exceeded their expectations and were really happy with what they were able to achieve.


There is another aspect of learning from this course that goes way beyond just the art of public speaking. There were various students who were participating in sport competitions and dance performances over the term I was working with them and they were all using the Yellow Lantern Kung Fu as a way of focusing and energizing before those events. They have learned that their energy and confidence level is up to them, not in an abstract, theoretical way but in a very concrete way. They learnt to breathe and do certain movements and then boom! They were ready for the challenges they were facing inside and outside the classroom. It was almost magical. For the boy who came into our last session having just broken the all-time school high-jump record it certainly was!


One girl who burst into tears with terror when she was to perform her speech for the first time in the class-room practice session ended up writing this: “I enjoyed the course and now I like public speaking. I don’t feel scared or nervous when I speak. After my speech I felt good and I enjoyed it and can’t wait to speak again”


What more could I ask? I also can’t wait to teach the course again and give this material to more children but that will have to wait until next term.


Categories: Stunning Stories

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