“Baby, you’re a Firework!”

9th July and I was out of the house before 5am. Mummy and I were to attend a public speaking workshop – as facilitators – at English College, Johor Bahru. I was assigned to a group of lower secondary school children and was duly impressed at the level they were catching up to everything we taught them.

At the beginning of the workshop, a presentation outlining the steps to preparing a well-thought speech was given. The students were told about the importance of intonation and body language, and how it would engage the audience into the speech. The students were then paired up to discuss a topic they would like to write a speech about.

At the end of the presentation, the students were split into group of six consisting of three pairs each and shooed into separate classrooms.

The aim of the day’s workshop was to give a starting point to these students to speak in public. We started with them presenting their speech to their little group of six before voting the best among them to go into the ‘finals’ to compete with the best of the other groups.

I made all of them stand up in front of their group mates to present their speech. I didn’t touch the grammar or any technical English what not, but made them improve on not-talking-like-a-train-moving-without-stopping-at-its-station, intonation and minimise on rocking back and forth while giving the speech.

I told them to breathe at the end of every sentence. Count to two internally at every full-stop to keep from rushing to the next sentence. Express enthusiasm! There was one student who spoke in a flat, dry manner and I told him to say “Nasi Lemak!”, “Milo!” over and over again like he’s super excited about it and made him use the same intonation in his speech. My tip to them was to take single, large steps every time they start to rock front and back on the spot.

They picked up really fast! The boy who represented the group I was assigned to made tremendous improvement from the first time I asked him to present his speech.

During the finals, I noticed all the other competitors in the lower secondary category had brought prepared materials of essay samples from English textbooks. The boy from my group had just done his speech about 45 minutes before the round begun, and was purely original (sounds like me – epic last minute work FTW!)

He got first place, woots!

I was so proud. Haha! He never even expected to win.

The upper secondary students went all syok-sendiri and started to behave like emcees or presenters like you would see at a local concert. AIYOH! This workshop is for public speaking lah! It was evident few of them actually prepared their piece and once person received my exasperated look which clearly told them hurry up and finish! without my saying a word.

I found it a pretty good warming up for Projek Kalsom starting tomorrow in Melaka. Super excited! (but have yet to pack! just returned from JB this afternoon). Check out their documentary trailer. Have a good week peeps!

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