As schools gear up to nurture “future-ready” students under the new directions set by Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE), parents have been advised to recalibrate their expectations about what constitutes learning.
“We hope to shift parents’ mindsets where parents recognise that, yes, building a strong academic core is still important, but there are other aspects… that would make a big difference,” said Ng Chee Meng, Singapore’s education minister for schools, in a Straits Times interview in January.
The MOE’s 21st Century Competencies framework is its blueprint for preparing children for future employment and entrepreneurship, and one of the listed skills is communication. According to a Straits Times reportpublished last year, pupils in local schools are increasingly being encouraged to express themselves, and there is a greater emphasis on communication skills during curriculum time as well as in assessments.
In time, local schools may adopt practices similar to those found in School 21, a public school in London that has garnered publicity in education circles for its efforts to make oracy the central feature of its learning activities. But till then, parents will need to take it upon themselves to look out for additional opportunities where their children can share stories and express ideas and opinions, so that they can grow as effective and engaging speakers.
With this in mind, KiasuParents.com has teamed up with NTUC Club-eXplorerkid, Speech Academy Asia and enrichment portal Flying Cape to host “Speak With Confidence” 2017, a public speaking training and competition event for children aged 7 to 12 years old, where participants can stand to win up to $500 worth of prizes.
Participants can opt to sign up for the competition alone; the registration fee is $60 and auditions will be held at eXplorerkid@Downtown East on Friday, 2 June 2017, between 1 and 5PM. (1 Unlimited Play Pass included). Students will be required to deliver a one- to two-minute speech on a specified endangered animal; details will be e-mailed to them upon registration.
Improving communication skills: Participants will learn how to use creative thinking to put ideas into words, and get their message across to a wider audience.
Improving confidence: Participants will pick up the skills to overcome common reservations towards public speaking, and build confidence along the way.
Following the audition, shortlisted participants can use the same speech, or an improved version of their speech, to compete in the “Speak With Confidence” 2017 finals on Saturday 17 June 2017, between 1 and 6PM.
This is a rare opportunity for children to break out of their comfort zones and hone their public speaking skills with expert supervision, while engaging in critical thinking about a topic of global concern. To quote President Tony Tan, who spoke on Singapore’s ongoing education revamp last year, “Even as we tinker with the education system, we must not forget that educational institutions must continue to instil in our students the values which will put them and the communities they serve in a better position than before.”