Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 27th 2015 Contents | PRACTICAL INSPIRATION |
By Lynda Banks-Khan
'TIS THE SEASON when Logophiles (word-lovers) and
Glossophobes (public-speaking haters) join the throngs of
proud parents, grandparents, extended family, friends,
neighbours all inveigled to purchase Christmas concert
tickets. Why? To watch young, budding actors and musi-
cal performers take to stages all over T&T. And this Pres-
entation Skills Coach is no exception.
So, naturally I will begin by citing some remarks made by
some of our students about the various productions the
month of December inspired:
• Jaeda, age 10, of Savonetta Primary: "I was a Karate Kid
in our panto and I spoke up loudly on stage."
• Hannah, age 12: "I was Mary in our Church Nativity and I
sang a solo."
• Kamaya, age 5: "I enjoyed playing the angel in the Church
play. I was excited about my costume and I helped my
brother, who was a shepherd."
POLISHED PERFORMANCES AND LOGOPHILIA
ESB has long been associated with inspiring confidence in
reticent young ones as well as helping to polish the per-
formances of those who are natural stage-lovers. Yours
truly has already attended her fair share of productions
this season and will be fortunate to view one or two
abroad as well.
Why do we do this? Well, in last month's article we high-
lighted how developing a love of words and how they
sound (logophilia) enhances a child's confidence. Christ-
mas concerts, Nativity plays and pageants provide each of
the chosen performers with a natural outlet for this new-
found love and there is nothing as rewarding as seeing a
formerly reticent student blossom on the evening of the
school or church Christmas production. Not to mention
the proud faces of their camera-ready adult fans craning
forward to catch their little ones in the act.
Whether our students are singing a well-known Christ-
mas carol or performing a one-liner in a well-rehearsed
Nativity or pantomime, at ESB sessions they are encour-
aged to look at the language carefully so they might pres-
ent their lines with greatest effect for their captive
audience. As we work in small groups in a safe environ-
ment, those children with less confidence don't feel as
threatened and we get them to improve on voice projec-
tion, pace of delivery, facial expression, gestures and tone.
MATURING ONSTAGE AND GLOSSOPHOBIA
We also established in last month's article that the
younger they are when encouraged to do these annual
performances, the less likely children are to develop glos-
sophobia. And yes, many of us as adult glossophobes can
trace this fear of being in the limelight to lack of encour-
agement to participate in such events as children. Perhaps
this is why so many parents want their children to take
part. I know of one school where every child is given a part
in the Christmas panto, a tall order for that teacher who
has consistently produced a very entertaining evening
each and every December for more than 40 years! What a
visionary! She has experienced the distinct pleasure of
watching generations of her fledglings, from infants to
SEA level, mature on the stage right before her very eyes.
What a wonderful time of year for all of us who attended
those Christmas performances throughout T&T, witness-
ing a new generation of inspired, confident stage perform-
ers mature in their public delivery, even as they provided
credence to the message of the Season. Perhaps these
moments of parental pride are but a glimpse of what our
Heavenly Father felt when He prepared the path for the
great role His son was about to play on earth as a public
speaker par excellence.
Lynda Banks-Khan is
the English Speaking
Board's sole facilita-
tor in the Caribbean.
Visit the ESB online
at esbuk.org or phone
for more information
on personally tailored
classes and interna-
certification at pri-
mary, secondary and
Aryanne Lopez, ESB candidate, plays
Shylock in the British Academy's
Christmas production, "The Merchant of
As we work in small groups in a safe environ-
ment, those children with less confidence
don't feel as threatened and we get them to
improve on voice projection, pace of delivery,
facial expression, gestures and tone.
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