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Waterway Primary School students speak their way to confidence

11 May 2017

Waterway Primary School Toastmasters programme

Waterway Primary’s students presenting the school’s facilities to parents and prospective students during the open house.

Speaking in front of a crowd or holding a conversation with a stranger can be a daunting task for many. Students of Waterway Primary School learn to do just that, and it starts from Primary One.

For one hour each week, students learn skills in listening, critical thinking and public speaking, as part of the school’s six-year-long Toastmasters programme. The objective of the programme is to build the students’ confidence to interact positively with others. Students also participate in drama, story-telling and topical sharing activities.

“The earlier we start children on speaking publicly, the earlier they can muster the courage and confidence to strike up conversations with people. We hope to eventually build them up as leaders,” explains teacher-in-charge, Mr Wong Beng Yu.

Lessons on values and etiquette

Apart from speaking with confidence, students also learn the importance of being gracious and respectful when interacting with others.

During lessons on topical sharing, the students share their experiences or feelings on a given topic. Through such activities, the students learn to listen attentively to their peers as they speak to the class.

“There was one boy who couldn’t even greet a teacher at the start of the school year, but he is now able to speak on stage confidently and maintain eye contact with the audience,” says Mr Wong. “For other students, we have seen growth in terms of their ability to speak up and interact with their friends on a personal basis.”

Parents have also given positive feedback on the programme. “Parents have said their children have become more confident, and that they can interact positively with family members at home,” says Mr Wong.