Speech is our way to address and communicate with audience to be able to convey relevant message. It is a process to persuade the audience towards a particular topic. Thus, it is an essential part of human growth. Likewise, speech facilitates a person to directly link to a large number of people. This creates a bridge for better communication and stronger relationships.
Teaching speech is vital to our students because it enables them to address their concerns and hone their public speaking, so they can communicate effectively. This is to teach them to speak up what is in their minds and hearts.
As an educator, I have experienced learners who are struggling to speak to people due to fear or anxiety. This fear may involve their fear to be judged or get wronged with their verbal communication. Actually, these are the common fears of my students which are the reasons they prefer to keep quiet instead of speaking up.
1. Express Themselves in English Language
There are several learners who have difficulty to express themselves, for instance in English. We cannot deny the fact that there are learners who refuse to speak up because they have anxiety that their response might me incorrect or possibly they would feel embarrassed. I have been encountered students asking me, “Miss, can I speak in vernacular, instead?” In this case, I have to consider things such as if I will allow them to speak in vernacular, this will help them express themselves well; however, I have to target my learning competencies, and this means that I won’t allow them to speak in vernacular. As an English Language teacher, I have to be firmed to assure that learning competencies are achieved.
2. Grammar Conscious
There are students who have difficulty to speak up because they are anxious about construction of their speech. They are more concern of the subject-verb agreement. Sometimes they asked me, “Is it okay if I speak in vernacular?” In connection with this, they are more concerned that their classmates will laugh at them or the teacher will get mad or embarrassed them because they have conveyed the wrong thought. In this case, I encourage them to try their best to speak in English. I explained to them to try their best, and that eventually they will learn the language.
3. Limited Vocabulary
When students have limited vocabulary, they struggle to communicate to others. There are students who are not voracious readers or we can say not fond of reading printed materials. Since they have limited vocabulary, they are struggling to express their ideas. When this happens, I do peer teaching or tutoring. I asked smart students to help their struggling classmates.
Pandora’s Box is a strategy to train and hone the critical thinking skill and public speaking of our students. The myth of Pandora (the first mortal woman) is a very interesting story in Greek Mythology. If we take a look at it, when Pandora opened the box, all evil escaped it, but Pandora who is under Zeus’ will held hope inside the jar by closing the lid. Pandora’s box is a good thing because it gives hope to people—which will also give hope to our students to do their best because they deserve new opportunities.
Classroom Rules for Pandora’s Box
- When a student speaks in vernacular, he or she must pick a cue card (question that requires critical thinking) from Pandora’s Box.
2. He or she must read the question loud and clear in front of his or her classmates.
- The student must answer the question like public speaking. His speech requires an introduction, justification, examples, and conclusion.
- English Speaking policy is strictly implemented in my class. That’s why, the frequent they speak in vernacular, the more they have to pick cue cards in Pandora’s Box.
I have been implementing Pandora’s Box in my English class until the present to address our struggling students to better express themselves. Pandora’s Box is a way to discipline our students to learn the English language as part of their routine, and learn bit by bit. This is to teach our students to say what they think, and express what they feel. Let’s get rid of a traditional class where students are being monopolized, or who will only go with the flow because of fear. Let us teach them to stand and fight for what is right, and not for what is told for them to do.
I hope this can help you.
Please let me know your comments or some of the reasons why students have difficulty to speak up.
I will be very glad to know things from you.