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Public speaking provides skills for real world

By Heather Pineda | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-11 16:32

Public speaking provides skills for real world

A student at the Dulwich College International network of schools practice their debating skills. [Photo provided to China Daily]

While enrolling your child in extracurricular activities like debate and the performing arts may be at the bottom of the priority list, especially given students' busy academic schedules, there are many reasons why such activities should play a key role in your child's education.

Throughout the world, researchers are linking improved academic success directly to participation in activities that allow for self-expression like debate and drama.

Many studies show noticeable improvement in a variety of academic areas as a result of participating in competitive debate and drama.

Debate students in particular excel in written and oral communication and greatly improve their reading comprehension, sometimes by as much as 25 percent more than their peers.

Researchers also found a direct correlation between an increase in parental involvement rendering reciprocating positive effects, such as how often parents and their children talked about and participated in the performing arts.

Furthermore, children learn self-reliance skills, allowing them to achieve individual goals within the group and see that there are a number of different ways to learn and develop skills.

Drama and debate skills can help in preparation for college and job interviews by allowing students to think on their feet and prepare them to think before they speak.

It also helps with writing a great university application and demonstrating readiness for university-level work. Debate scholarships are offered by numerous universities and colleges, especially in the US.

There are numerous opportunities for your children to get involved in debate and drama on campus and even opportunities for students to win open-ended scholarships by competing in contests like the International Public Policy Forum Debate Contest, which encourages students to participate in written and oral debate competitions on public policies.

These competitions are conducted throughout the year.The eight final teams win an all-expense paid trip to New York, and the winning team gets university scholarships of $30,000 and the opportunity to participate in an oral debate competition before a panel of some of the world’s foremost experts in debate, business, law and politics.

Students who take part in drama or debate inevitably learn the invaluable skill of effective communication.

Forced to question and critique their own views and perspectives and those of others, students learn how to evaluate information and appreciate that which is different.

Through active participation in a performing art, students are given the opportunity to connect with other disciplines, cultures, traditions and audiences and to prepare themselves for a bright future ahead.

The author is director of University and Careers Counselling and Dulwich College International.

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