As many of you know, Asian students in particular, usually are painfully shy, especially when speaking in public, Figure 1. I recently delivered a module of Publicly Speaking, anticipating problems for my English Major students. The weeks went by and eventually my class’s became more comfortable with student self-introductions to class and addressing class on a given subject. Progress was mad but I still felt we could go further.
I gave individual tutorials to students who had particular problems with slight stammers. Breathing exercises, running and shouting and a low speed of delivery were a few topics I covered. As many teachers will know, when your enjoying your class you often try to improve your performance and your student experience enabling them to enjoy and learn.
I had an idea, which came to me in a dream. At the risk of alarming you, I have been reassured this is not a bad sign. During my PhD this happened and I solved a major problem concerning my Thesis. Often in preparation a plan.
I have since developed a methodology to be referred to as the ‘Tripple A method’ to aid my Asian students in China, Japan, England and Ireland. They often use the word Anxiety when discussing Public Speaking. This article sets out the methodology with the aid of a Holistic Model, Figure 4 which may be used as a lesson plan for other teaching professionals. I met my students at class in China and as usual, I briefed them on the lesson. According to the syllabus it was to part of ‘The Art of Public Speaking’, they were not aware of their immediate task. It was important for the experiment that the students were not aware of their task. The students were aware of the exhibition on campus and may have already been for a look. The class was instructed to leave bags and non-valuables on their desks and meet at the exhibition. Form a group and await further instructions. On the way to the exhibition there was definitely an air of excitement.The curiosity built and the joy of being outside added to the spectacle.
I told them the had 5 minutes to pick a piece of art they liked and each student will have to explain to the class why they choose it and answer some questions from the class as seen in Figure 2. This time restraint didn’t seem to bother them, they almost suddenly ran to their picture of choice. They seemed too busy to be nervous as they contemplated their task as shown in the green area of the Holistic model, Figure 4.
As they had picked their own picture to describe they perfectly described their art. They added humour and expertise to their task, speaking eloquently in their second language, Figure 3. This part of the experiment is highlighted in the blue section of the Holistic Model, Figure 4. It was at this point that something had occurred in the lesson that I was not expecting.
On the way back to the classroom everybody was extremely chatty and explaining to me how they had enjoyed the lesson. They had never experienced such a lesson and inquired when they could do it again.
At the debrief we discussed their nerves and anxiety over speaking in public they always suffered from. We established no anxiety had been shown or felt in the group during the lesson, infarct it was a joyful experience. This part of the class is represented in the red section of the Holistic Model. I have used this Methodology with many students around the world with positive results. I left them with a final thought, a possible reason for their experience; they forgot to be nervous, they abandoned their anxiety and formed a confident Attitude.