Sunday, October 30, 2016

Helping teens fight their public speaking fear monster

Last Sunday, October 23rd, there was an excellent post by ‘Secondary Sara’ at the Secondary English Coffee Shop blog titled Making Public Speaking Less Scary For Teens. Her six main points are to:

1] Play with audience size

2] Practice in class

3] Develop a growth mindset

4] Pre-assess shy students

5] Keep the audience busy

6] Bring in other experts

Instead of having students speak to the entire class, she suggests splitting it in half, or dividing students into small groups. A survey of U.S. adults found that speaking to small groups was feared by just 15.2%, versus 30.2% for public speaking. See my July 22, 2011 blog post titled Putting the fear puzzle pieces together - social and specific fears in the National Comorbidity Survey.

Pre-assessing shy students is important. In another survey of U.S. adolescents, speaking in class was feared by 24.9% of them, which was the second most common social fear out of 14 situations. (Performing for an audience was first at 35.8%). See my June 11, 2012 blog post titled What social situations scare American adolescents, and what are their top 20 fears?

The image is from William Blake’s watercolor of The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun at Wikimedia Commons.

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