Research has shown and continues to verify that good public speakers have not only influenced public opinion but have, many a time, shaped and turned the course of history. Be it the negative impact of Adolf Hitler, or for the betterment of humanity Dr Martin Luther Kind, during his “I have a dream” speech. Public speaking has the three-pronged impact of winning over, motivating and informing people. Mastering public speaking, as part of the educational curriculum, empowers the individual with a plethora of other skills and especially setting them apart from those who have not gained and practised these skills from a young age.
The Asifundze Maths and Science Orals a Penreach pilot project for 2017. Research has revealed that incompetency in English contributes significantly to the high failure rate in Maths and Science. On World Maths Day, 17 March 2017, 112 students in Grades 4-7 came together at Penryn College for the first Asifundze Maths and Science Orals competition. The participants were randomly selected by educators in 10 different Penreach targeted schools.
The educators were initially introduced to a workshop, which included the training of coordinating; public speaking, poetry recital, rehearsed drama as well as unprepared reading. Thereafter, at the educator’s discretion, learners were selected to represent their school in the competition. As part of the participant’s preparation for the competition, they focused on the theme of maths and science.
The competition benefits the children in that, whilst the participants are mastering the confidence to communicate in English, they also learn the concepts in Maths and Science which they acted out, gave a speech on or spelt out during the competition. Public speaking is often feared by many, and more so with Penreach beneficiaries who come from a different first language background. Be it giving a speech at a birthday party or simply communicating in an interview, these skills nurture the development of the participants and furthermore, open the door to many opportunities in the future.
The entire event was based on the importance of learners being able to express themselves in a learning environment and having the confidence to do so. This reduces areas where the learner’s development is stagnant due to their lack of communication tools and skills. An activity such as the Afsifundze Maths and Science Orals will equip the learners with the confidence to express their points of view because ultimately world-changing ideas are born from minds that have dared to think differently and express their visions articulately.
Penreach welcomed adjudicators, English First Additional Language educators; Lindiwe Khumalo, Themba Simelane and Mabel Beauchama. All three adjudicators were enthusiastic about the event and the role it can play in promoting language learning across the curriculum. In acknowledgement of the learners’ participation, each school received a certificate, whilst the winners of each oral activity were awarded a crystal Penreach trophy.
This is certainly a milestone for these Primary School children, and the pride that filled the Penryn College Auditorium was a step toward future success in education.