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We live in a world of constant change. It can be challenging to foresee what life skills our children need to develop, to prepare them well for an uncertain future.
However, it’s comforting to know that there are a set of skills that will always be important and relevant for many, many generations still to come.
Namely, I’m referring to the skills that allow us to communicate, to be creative, and to have a grounded sense of self-confidence.
People who can communicate authentically, project a genuine and natural feeling of confidence, and who can spark creativity within themselves and those around them will always have aces up their sleeve.
In a nutshell, these are exactly the group of life skills that speech and drama lessons are designed to nurture.
Let’s delve a little deeper into understanding some of the most common life skills speech and drama students learn. And how they learn them…
Grow genuine self-confidence
By providing a non-judgemental environment, speech and drama classes allow students to think outside the square, experiment with new personas and attitudes, use new social strategies and interact positively with their peers. Children who come to speech and drama classes shy and timid by nature are guided gently using a combination of these strategies. They will very often find it a safe and comfortable environment in which to feel into what it is that makes them unique, to value that uniqueness, and to gain confidence from the new skills they are layering into their personality and character.
Expand creativity and a sense of imagination
Great speech and drama teachers will constantly inspire their students to ‘imagine the impossible’ during their games and activities. Doing so stimulates their creative thinking skills. And contrary to popular opinion, ALL areas of life need creativity and imagination. Science, the arts, medicine, even seemingly ‘left-brain’ professions like law and engineering all depend on people being able to dream and create. As evidence of this, ponder whether the pyramids, the abolishment of slavery, open-heart surgery and the discovery of electricity came about by people thinking along the lines of the status quo?
Develop better interpersonal skills with peers and adults
To be able to express oneself freely and clearly to those around us and understand the nuances of their expression in return, is foundational to positive interaction with those around us. Speech and drama lessons use games and activities that are specifically designed to allow children to experiment with a full range of emotions and how to express them, using a mixture of spoken and non-spoken communication skills. What better way to kickstart a lifelong journey of learning and using effective interpersonal skills?
Learning to love public speaking
The fear of public speaking and associated feelings of anxiety and discomfort at being in the spotlight are extremely common in the adult world. Quite simply, in many cases those fears and discomforts may not have developed if they had had opportunities to be examined, poked, prodded and (most importantly!) played with in fun and relaxed ways during safe speech and drama lessons in the developmental years of life.
Show strong and positive body language
We all experience examples of being persuaded and influenced either positively or negatively by others’ body language, every day. Most of the time this happens subconsciously. Speech and drama lessons bring the subconscious into the open, and grow students' abilities to control movement, posture, and gesture. Ultimately, understanding body language allows us to feel comfortable in front of (and influence) friends, colleagues, family members, audiences and crowds, authentically and positively.
Nurture the ability to empathise, and respect ourselves and others
A common occurrence in speech and drama classes is to step into the shoes of characters in scripts, stories and poems. By trying to interpret and understand the experiences of the characters, students naturally begin to enquire and be curious about what it might feel like to be in situations they don't experience in their own lives. Doing this regularly stimulates an all-important life skill - how to empathise with other people and feel genuine care and respect for their circumstances, thoughts and feelings.
Let’s not mince words here... good manners are a declining art form. While we can’t speak for all speech and drama companies, at Head Held High we value the use of good manners very highly in our own lives. Because of this, we feel it’s important to weave opportunities to learn, discuss and display good manners throughout the games and activities that comprise our lessons.
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At Head Held High learning life skills doesn't have to be as dry and dull as it sounds! We use hundreds of fun games and imaginative scenarios in our lessons, to teach all the skills described above, as well as many more.
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