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The Magic of Laughter & The Gift of Confidence

If we were to keep stats about the most common question that parents ask us at Head Held High, the winner (by a long way) would be...

“Will speech and drama lessons help my child become more confident?”

The problem with answering this question is that the word ‘confidence’ means a myriad of different things to different people. It’s much easier though, if you consider what this question is actually asking. When I hear the question, I hear parents actually asking…

“Will speech and drama lessons help my child loosen up, relax and be freer around others?”

Many parents tell us their child or teenager is fun-loving, playful and relaxed in their family environment. Yet they’re tense, guarded and nervous in social situations.

They simply want for their child/teenager that s/he can be the same ‘confident’ person in social situations with peers, that s/he is around home with family.

Speech and drama can help with that. It has the power to encourage young people to trust the feeling of releasing their free spirit, in situations where they don’t normally feel able to do so.

There's no such thing as 'too much' in speech and drama

In school, children and teenagers are encouraged to be quiet and to listen. They are taught routines, passive listening skills, and behavioural expectations that are often pitched far above their developmental stage. In short - they’re pushed to act like adults!

In speech and drama lessons, while it’s important to be able to listen and follow routines, those skills are only necessary so students can access the real gold... being able to take full part in activities that encourage silliness, over-acting, excess emotion, high-energy and improvisation!

Invite the class clown out to play

Speech and drama offers uncountable ways for any student, be they shy or boisterous, to truly be themselves, in relaxed and easy ways. We aim to help our students feel safe to be the person they are at home, in front of their speech and drama peers.

We all get a chance to talk about and explore the things we love. Just as importantly, we listen to what others love. We recognise similarities and celebrate them. We recognise differences, and celebrate them too.

We perform (safely) for each other. We make mistakes sometimes, and other times we ‘nail it’. Whatever happens, we encourage and clap for each other!

How we encourage laughter

Children and teens are more likely to join in when they feel they are part of the crowd.

Outrageous behavior in a group setting can build confidence that it’s OK to ‘let go’ and be silly.

So, we build activities that ‘lower guards’ into all of our lessons. Pretend play is excellent for inducing laughter. Pretending to be animals, beloved characters, modes of transportation, or even family members can feel liberating for children and teens alike.

Making unusual sounds, funny faces, and dress up time can also stimulate raucous laughter - hearty laughter that’s rarely seen in schools, religious services, or many structured spaces.

The beauty of speech and drama is that it’s a space to let go!

Making others laugh appropriately boosts confidence levels. Suddenly peers are less intimidating, and it’s easier to just ‘be yourself’.

Is there any more powerful lesson than to learn that you have the power to make others happy?

The magic of laughter is observable

We see it over and over again in our Head Held High lessons...

The student that walks into her first lesson quiet, reserved and timid. She sees others around her being silly. She watches her speech and drama peers experimenting, exaggerating and improvising. She experiences the magic of laughing with others, at others, and at themselves. That same student then performs confidently and proudly at the end of the year for her parents and family.

She smiles, she laughs, she lets go, confidently.

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