LET’S STAND-Public Speaking and Oral Language Programme

January 23, 2022

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I started teaching in SET this September. I have worked for a few weeks in SET in the past but nothing long term, so it was quite a change for me! I had lots of resources but I really struggled to find a suitable resource for social skills and oral language. I was using some SPHE resources and bits and pieces I found online, but I wanted a programme I could follow for the rest of the year. I managed to get a good few sample copies of various programmes, and the one I decided on is called ‘LET’S Stand’. The author , Siobhán Fitzgerald, is passionate about public speaking and about using communication skills to empower students to use their voice, in particular children who are not naturally outspoken. Siobhán is a primary school principal and has been teaching for 28 years. She has taught in Japan, Saudi Arabia,France and Switzerland. Based on her research and experience, she developed the LET’s Stand programme and has seen the benefits from the years she has used the programme with her students. She is currently completing a Ph.D on the connection between oracy and self-confidence in young people. Siobhán is an Advanced Toastmaster Gold,and a TEDx Speaker too! So all in all quite an inspirational educator. A principal, a TEDx speaker, toastmaster and she developed this whole innovative programme too. Amazing.

So we have all encountered children (and adults) who don’t enjoy public speaking, who never raise their hand, who may have a lot to say but don’t have the confidence or the social skills to actually speak out, particularly as they get older. This programme is all about enabling and empowering our students to pitch and present their ideas and thoughts to their class. I actually wish this had been around when I was younger. I was so shy all through school and college, it was only when I started teaching that I became more confident and able to engage in public speaking. I can really empathise with children who don’t enjoy speaking out in class because I was the very same. I also see the value in a programme like this, which focuses in on this particular skill which will stand to the children throughout their lives.

I’ve been using the programme since the start of January. It is so easy to follow and so well laid out. I will share more information about it now as I know many of you are also looking for suitable programmes to use in SET. It is also perfect for mainstream as it ties in perfectly with SPHE and English.

LET’s Stand is divided into four books, A (able) , B (brave) C (confidence) and D (daring) A is for third class, B for fourth, C for fifth and D for sixth. The workbooks are spiral in nature, so the skills developed are built on as the books progress.

Book A is divided into three sections

  1. The Groundwork – this includes a story about a robot, Aland, who felt uncomfortable talking in front of people. He features in all the workbooks. This section shares speaker’s stories from relevant and current speakers, book A features Greta Thunberg and Mattie Stepanek. It then continues to the next section on public speaking, with lovely child friendly pictures and templates. It has a visualisation and affirmation activity, focus boxes, rules for the listener and speaker, and the ‘key method’. Book A develops the first three skills for public speaking, Stand Up, Speak Out, and Body Langauge.
  2. Projects- Section two has a list of projects, including ‘What Makes Me Special’, ‘What I think About..’, ‘How to Play My Favourite Game’, ‘My Favourite Pastime’, etc. There’s twelves projects in total, with two of them being as Gaeilge. Each project section has a ‘tip’ box at the top with useful tips such as’ think about changing the pace of your voice, ‘think about how you can use your facial expressions to help your peers understand’.  The project section is very well laid out with lots of colour, templates and pointers for the children.
  3. The third section contains resources for students, some samples from book A are ‘My Favourite Quotations’, ‘Memory Aids’, ‘Picture Prompts’, ‘Evaluation Cards’.

A really great feature of this workbook is in the student resources, there is a list of famous speeches , with a QR code which you can scan to bring you directly to the speech on youtube. This is my first time coming across this in a workbook and it is such a time saver!

The skills are taught in a spiral nature which I have listed below:

Workbook A begins the public speaking journey by teaching the students the skills of:
Stand Up
Speak Out 
Body Language 

Workbook B, begins the public speaking journey by teaching the students the skills of:
Hand Gestures
Prop/ Visual Aid 

Workbook begins the public speaking journey by teaching the students the skills of:
Facial Expression
Eye Contact

Workbook D begins the public speaking journey by teaching the students the skills of:
Lovely Language

LET’s Stand is also integrated across the elements of the new Primary Language Curriculum, with opportunities for students to practise oral language, reading and writing skills in each lesson. Teachers can confidently meet the learning outcomes of the Primary Language Curriculum while giving students the opportunity to structure their writing under the six main writing genres of recount, narrative, procedure, report, exposition and explanation.

We all know that student who has so much to offer to classroom discussion but often lacks the confidence to share their opinions. LET’s Stand empowers students with the skills to have their voice heard. For some serious inspiration and more information on the programme, view Siobhán’s video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr-wH9D_OTs&t=5s

The teacher manual will be released in February and there will be lots of supporting online resources also available. The workbooks are only six euro each which I feel is quite good value. I haven’t seen anything like this out there yet and I am always on the look out for useful programmes to use. I must say personally I am quite impressed with it.

You can purchase or request a sample if you want to try it out first, here : https://4schools.examcraftgroup.ie/LetsStandPrimary

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