Getting to I've got this
If you have ever been in a meeting and felt the dread of being asked to read aloud, participate in a role-play or speak to the group you will understand why Speech and Drama Classes are so important. There is something about that feeling of impending doom as you wait for your turn to speak, the sweaty tension grows with a sense of 'Ahhhh! What do I say? Or what if I stuff up! Those feelings reign much louder in your brain than 'I've got this'. It would be a similar situation if I told you -you have a game of tennis in 3 minutes and you've barely ever played and all your colleagues will be watching. When all eyes are on us we like to be prepared. So much of our confidence comes from knowing 'I've got this'.
Ten Feet Tall works with over 250 children every week to develop their speaking and performing confidence through Speech and Drama Classes and Public Speaking Classes. Compared to other drama programmes our approach is primarily educational, packed with the breadth of skill development focussed on growing important oral language, drama performance and public speaking skills. To play a tennis match learning forehand and backhand takes practice, much repetition and encouragement to develop the skills. To speak with confidence requires the same type of teaching: focussed repetition of the core speaking and performing skills in different contexts so that when students stand in front of an audience, they can do so with confidence.
Speech and Drama classes that grow skills to engage and interact
So often drama classes are taught out of context with little thought of the audience we are trying to engage. In our lifetime even if we are not an actor we are asked to present and engage a number of different audiences. In its simplest form, it could be a telephone call, a zoom presentation, a thank you speech or announcement, a role play at a work meeting, a tribute speech for a colleague or a persuasive presentation. From an audience of one to speaking to hundreds of people - our Speech and Drama classes enable students to reflect on how they can use their growing skills to engage and interact with the audience they are preparing for.
Development of skills takes time
The development of these skills takes time and our curriculum is designed to offer students the opportunity to reflect on how their physical and vocal impact can be adapted to different audiences and situations. Our teachers find such joy in watching our Year 1-3 students begin the journey of speaking and performing with confidence. National examiners have commented on the ability of our Year 4-6 students to speak extempore [planned structure but in their own words] so well, so young. When many students are just starting Speech and Drama classes - students who have participated in our Year 1-3 programme understand how to stand tall, engage an audience with their eyes, posture and voice and speak to an audience with a plan in their head but in their own words. Teachers are surprised to see the impact of our weekly classes. And, we have been offering Year 1-3 assessment opportunities with great success and achievement for the past 6 years.
Educational AND fun
Our programme is carefully designed to complement what are students are learning at school as they work towards their Speech and Drama Diploma in Year 13. Apart from our educational focus, Ten Feet Tall Speech and Drama classes are packed with fun exercises and praise. Our curriculum is designed by the owner and headteacher Sarah Hartley to be engaging. We understand what our students love. We do not have a 'set' curriculum we teach every year - our programme has specific learning outcomes at each level and is continually flexing and changing with the learning needs and interests of our students.
If you prepared for the tennis match I mentioned earlier but you did not get to play a match with an opponent on the other side - what would be the point? It is the same with Speech and Drama classes - if there is little opportunity to perform in front of an audience - growth is much slower. Ten Feet Tall offers a range of performance opportunities for its students. From recitals, to staged performances in costume, to competitions and assessments. The more our students flex their speaking and performing muscles in front of an encouraging and supportive audience; the faster their confidence grows.
I've got this!
So that, when they sit as an adult in front of a group of colleagues, sweaty and prepared to present - the classes they did as a child become muscle memory and they can stand tall in who they are and engage an audience purposefully with the confidence of knowing 'I've got this.'