6 effective ways to help your child overcome the fear of public speaking

6 effective ways to help your child overcome the fear of public speaking

Speaking in front of others is something that your child will encounter throughout their life.  Whether it’s reading a book report to their class, interviewing for their first job, or presenting to an important client during their career, being able to speak to the public or a group of people confidently is a vital asset they will need to succeed throughout their life.  Some children are naturally outgoing, but others are shyer.  Some children find it hard to speak English. Some don’t want to make mistakes. 

As parents, of course we want to help our kids to become more confident giving presentations and participating in debates at school.  Research has shown that adults with greater annual incomes tend to do more public speaking than those who do not. The good news is, by creating a positive and encouraging atmosphere at home, we can totally instill the confidence of speaking in our children.  So here are 6 innovative ways you can help your kid overcome public speaking anxiety.

1. Get Her in The Right State of Mind

Acknowledge your child’s anxiety, and let her know that it’s perfectly normal.  “Providing accurate information about anxiety can reduce confusion or shame,” suggests a tip sheet from Anxiety BC, a non-profit that promotes anxiety awareness.  The organization suggests that it’s important to show your child that her fears are legitimate.  The empathy you demonstrate will increase the chances that your child will express her worries to you later on.


Steven Cohen, a speech instructor at Harvard Extension School, says that one of the main fears underlying public speaking is uncertainty.  People are uncertain about how their ideas will be perceived, how they’ll be judged, and the impression they’ll make.  Your child is no different. Cohen teaches his students instead to “focus on the opportunity that they have to stand in front of an audience and speak about something they care about.”  Try that with your child. Get her excited for the opportunity she has — “How often do you get to have a whole room of people listen to you?” — and help her see the joy of public speaking.  If you can redirect her focus on the opportunity, her enthusiasm will take care of the rest.

2. Do not correct every mistake

Encourage your children to speak English as much as possible by asking open ended questions and allowing them room for discussions on their topics of interests.  Avoid correcting every mistake. If you interrupt the child and current them every time they speak English, they will never learn to speak English confidently and fluently.  The knowledge and experience they get by communicating ideas full in English is what will give them confidence.

If your child asks for help, there is no harm offering them alternative ways to express what they want to say.  However, don’t pressure them or show disappointment if your child is not ready to speak yet. Everyone makes mistakes at times – that’s how we learn.  Let them know that making mistakes is a normal and important part of learning a language. If you want to correct your child, don’t correct every mistake, and never interrupt your child to correct.  Wait until they finish speaking, then say the word or the sentence correctly and encourage them to repeat. Don’t say “Not like that” or “It’s wrong”. Instead choose “Listen …” or “Let’s try again”.

3. Encourage practice speaking English in authentic, stress-free situations

Kids aren’t fearful of what they already know.  Encouraging children to talk and just put it out there, without judgments being made, is very important.  It can be intimidating or embarrassing to try to speak English, so practicing in an informal setting can help. 

Remember how children learn their first language? It is through informal conversation, not studying. If you want to help children speak English confidently, give them more opportunities to have real conversations in English.  Encourage your child to order at a foreign-owned restaurant or have a short conversation with a foreigner on the street. At dinner, ask her to share a story about her day, or help her callGrandma for a weekly phone update that will get her chatting.  These opportunities mirror authentic public speaking situations that will better prepare her for a moment in the spotlight at school or elsewhere.

4. Use fun ways to teach new English words to children

Many children are more motivated to learn English if they like English-speaking music, films, cartoons or books.  Your child might have a toy version of a favourite English-speaking cartoon character. Tell your child that this toy only understands English.  Have a conversation with the toy yourself to encourage your child to do the same in private.

Many young children learn language more easily when the learning is subtly combined with creative activities.  Think about what your child likes doing for fun and try doing these activities in English, such as singing, playing games, reading books aloud, role-playing.

Expanding your child’s vocabulary will have a positive effect on more than just your public speaking and speech writing. For more ideas to easily teach kids new English words, you can check these 7 best word games for families to play anywhere!, which will help you spend quality time with your children while helping kids enlarge their range of vocabulary

5. Let your child watch short movies in English

Let media and technology work in your favor!  Allow your children to pick out a movie they want to watch in English.  Occasionally pause the movie and ask prompting questions such as, “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why did he/she say that?”.  At the end of the movie, have them say their favorite part or least favorite part in English.  

Watching movies in English introduces children to a greater variety of vocabulary words, contexts, and phrases.  In addition, they are internalizing correct English pronunciation.  Kieran Donaghy, an English teacher who runs the site Film-English.com, encourages the use of short movies in language classrooms to invite creativity and creative thinking into English learning, without the need to think too much about things like grammar.  When children watch short movies, they’re learning through authentic input, which means they’re learning by using real English materials that weren’t actually intended to teach the language. 

Try having English movie night on the same night every week, perhaps the same night you have ‘English only’ day in your home!  If you really want to be proactive, have the winner of ‘English only’ day pick the English movie for the night! This will give your children even greater motivation to speak English.

6. Encourage your child to join drama classes

As well as being good fun, drama classes teach children improved ways of expressing themselves in front of a large audience.  Children who are usually hesitant to speak up will finally have a safe space to claim their voices. Not only do drama classes strengthen self-expression, they also train verbal and nonverbal communication to help kids thrive in social situations.  Kids will have so much fun during the collaborative creative process that they will not even notice all the learning that is going on. Their articulation, tone of speech, expression, and vocal projection will naturally improve as their self-esteem ignites. 

Drama classes are not popular in Vietnam, so students do not have many chances to access performing arts, especially if they do not come from international or other top-tier schools.  Understanding this problem, we decided to choose “Drama games” as one of the activities for Climbers Crew – an English Club organized by Everest Education. We provide free and creative spaces for students at all ages to practice conversational English in the form of interesting workshops.  Parents can totally bring your child to our Climbers Crew, to let her explore the dramatic side through learning the fundamentals of drama. If you’re keen, go to our website for the detailed agenda, and register a spot for your child.

Confidence is not something that comes overnight.  It needs to be instilled from a young age and nurtured throughout life.  Teach them when they are young so that they do not hesitate when they grow older.  Also, remember that every child learns at a different pace, so do not worry if your child is taking some time to speak English. Be patient and do not rush.



Education News – Jan 13, 2020

Education News – Jan 13, 2020

Creative Media Scholarships from James Cook University, Australian 2020 ($10,000)

Applications are now open for Creative Media Scholarships at James Cook University (JCU).  Under the provision of Coursework Scholarships, Bursaries and Grants Policy, James Cook University is awarding William Thomas Williams Honours Bursary.  The Honours scholarship is available to outstanding candidates at James Cook University pursuing a Bachelor of Creative Media Honours (music, sound, and moving image).  International and domestic students can apply for this scholarship. JCU Scholarships for Creative Media has been possible due to the graceful contribution of William Thomas Williams.  The candidate successful to receive the William Thomas Williams Honours Bursary will receive a scholarship of $10,000 in Creative Media. This scholarship is tenable for the duration of 1 year.
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Full undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships from Romania Government 2020

International students are invited to apply for Romania Government Scholarship 2020 – offered for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.  The scholarship program offered by the Romanian state, through the Ministry of Foreign to international students who are not citizens of European countries.  This year, the Romania Government will offer 85 scholarships in Romania to undergraduate and post-graduate students. The duration of the undergraduate scholarship is 3-6 years, for master’s scholarship is 1.5 to 2 years and for the doctoral scholarship is 3-4 years.  Successful applicants will be provided full tuition, free accommodation and a monthly stipend (about 65-85 EURO/ month). Please note that these scholarships do not cover food, international and local transport. The Scholarship by Romania Government is a very competitive and best scholarship program in the world.  Selected students will be studying in top universities of Romania on scholarship. 
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Global Diversity Scholarship for International Students from Australian National University (ANU) 2020 ($25,000)

Australian National University is offering the Global Diversity Scholarship for International Students to study in Australia for the academic year 2020-2021.  Each year, The Australian National University may offer up to 150 awards known as the ANU Global Diversity Scholarship to attract students from diverse regions of the world to pursue a degree at the ANU.  The program is designed for those high performing aspirants from all around the world who have a desire to study any degree-level course in any subject offered by the university. Each successful candidate will get $25,000 per year for up to two years.  The candidate must be an international student and have to receive an offer of admission to a pathway program at the ANU. There is no scholarship application as students are automatically considered based on them meeting the eligibility criteria.
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Ideas for effective reward systems to discipline your child

Ideas for effective reward systems to discipline your child

What is the best consequence to use for a particular behavior?  This is probably one of the most common questions we receive from many parents.  You may wonder which consequences to use, how to set them up effectively, and how long to give them.

We notice some parents are moving towards “gentle parenting”, where they choose not to use rewards (sticker charts, lollies, chocolates, TV time as “bribes”) and punishments (taking away “privileges”, time-out…) to encourage good behaviour for the sake of doing the right thing.  A great way to start figuring out the right consequences for your situation is to sit down during a calm moment and create a list, or “menu,” of consequences and rewards for your child. Each behavior you are worried about should have a specific consequence. 

To help you get started, we suggest some simple, but effective ideas for a reward system in place.

Why reward your kids?

Rewards can encourage your good behavior from your child.
The way you respond right after your child’s behavior makes the behavior more or less likely to happen again.  Rewards can help get your child to do more of the things you want her to do. Rewards that happen right after a behavior are best.

Rewards can help increase self-esteem.
Toddlers and preschoolers hear the words “no,”, “stop,” and “quit” many times during the day.  This is normal and one of the ways they learn right from wrong. But when children hear these things over and over, their self-esteem can begin to suffer.  They may begin to believe they cannot do anything correctly. When a child earns a reward, she knows she has done something good and something you like.

Rewards can improve your relationship with your child.
When you give a reward to your child, you and your child are both happy.  You are happy because your child has done something you like. Your child is also happy because she is getting something she likes.

Rewards are recognition for a job well done.  And while descriptive praise and attention are the most effective form of reward a parent can offer a child, tangible rewards such as an activity or a privilege have their place too.  It’s not easy to keep kids motivated. A system of rewards and consequences at home could be just the incentive your child needs. Here are ideas for putting a system in place.

Types of Rewards

There are several types of rewards. Material rewards include toys, candy, or other things that cost money. Another type of reward is a social reward. Social rewards are cheap or free and can be even more powerful than material rewards. They also can be given more often and immediately after behaviors you like.

Examples of Social Rewards:
1. Affection – includes hugs, kisses, a high five, a smile, a pat on the back, or an arm around the shoulder.

    2. Praise – Praise happens when parents say things like “Great job,” “Way to go,” or “Good boy/girl.”  However, specific (or labeled) praise tells a child exactly what behavior you liked. Examples of labeled praise are:

      • “Great job playing quietly while I was on the telephone!”
      • “You were a great helper when you put all your toys in the closet today”

    3. Attention and Activities –Extra time with you or a special activity can be a powerful reward for young children. Some examples include playing a favorite game, reading a story, and helping with dinner. Other activities like going to the movies, the zoo or libraries can also be used.

    6 steps to set up a reward chart

    1. Choose the behaviour you want to change or encourage
      When you’ve decided on the behaviour, it’s important to use clear and positive descriptions of the behaviour.  For example, ‘Pick up all the toys from your bedroom floor’ is clearer and easier for your child to understand than ‘Tidy your bedroom’.  And ‘Knock before going into other people’s rooms’ is more positive than ‘Don’t invade other people’s privacy’.
    1. Set up a chart
      You can choose from lots of different styles of charts or make one yourself.  You can also insert a drawing or photo of the reward they’re trying to earn. For some great ideas for reward charts, click here.  When you’ve decided on your chart, decide which stickers or tokens to use – star stickers work well for younger children, whereas older children might like points or other markers.  Put the chart where your child can see it. Keep in mind that your older child might prefer a spot that’s private – for example, in her bedroom rather than on the fridge.
    1. Choose short-term rewards
      Most children enjoy collecting stickers or tokens at the start.  But the novelty can wear off quite quickly, and the real reward can seem too far away.  So it’s good to choose short-term rewards that you can give often if your child earns them, like a family bike ride, special time with mom or dad, the chance to stay up late, a movie night, or a new book or small toy.
    1. Give your child the stickers straight after the behaviour
      When your child gets the sticker straight after the behaviour you want to see, it reinforces this behaviour.  Likewise, some specific praise reminds your child why he’s getting the sticker or token. For example, ‘I really like the way you and Mia have been playing and sharing toys this morning. Here’s a star for your chart’.
    1. Try to stay positive
      If your child doesn’t earn a star, it’s best to just move on.  Also try to avoid punishing your child by saying, ‘I’ll take a star away’, or ‘You won’t get any stars if you keep that up!’.  Focus on encouraging your child to try again.
    1. Measure the behaviour

    If your child has a particularly challenging behaviour, you might like to measure the behaviour before you start and while you’re using the reward chart.  For example, count how many times, or how often, your child hits. Record this when you start using the chart, then keep track of it as the days pass. This will help you tell if the reward chart is working.

    Reward charts: making them work for you

    If you make an effort to notice when your child is behaving well, you keep the focus on encouraging good behaviour.   For example, your child might be cleaning up her toys once a day.  You could try looking for two times in the day when she does cleaning, and give her stickers for those two times on the chart, so she can earn her rewards more quickly.  Remember to reward the behaviour as soon as you see it to keep your child motivated. Thinking about how much behaviour change to expect can help you and your child stay positive and realistic.  You might look for small changes to reward before working your way up to a big change.  For example, if you want your child to help more with tidying up, you could start by rewarding her for picking up the blocks.  Then it could be the blocks and the dress-ups, and so on.

    Your child might get bored with the same reward.  To avoid this, you could work together to set up a reward ‘menu’ with a choice of rewards to spend his stickers on.  For example, 5 stickers = a game with mum or extra time before lights out, 10 stickers = a trip to the park or a small toy. Your tweens, or teenagers, will outgrow formal reward charts and systems.  However, this doesn’t mean you have to get rid of reward systems altogether. Create a behavior management contract to link privileges to specific behavior. For example, link your teen’s ability to go to the movies with her friends to get her homework done on time all week.  Electronics are also another privilege that works well for many teens. Consider giving cellphone privileges each day only after their homework and chores are completed. Just make sure that you establish clear rules ahead of time so your child understands what you expect each day.

    Children, like adults, enjoy attention.  Children tend to continue a behavior that secures attention.  Behavior that does not arouse a reaction or is ignored is likely to eventually fall by the wayside.  The key to raising kids when it comes to learning positive behavior is consistency in a parent’s reactions to their choices.  Parents should be proactive and engaging, demonstrating and rewarding the behaviors they want their children to learn.



    Education News – Jan 6, 2020

    Education News – Jan 6, 2020

    Full undergraduate scholarships from American University, U.S. 2020 ($68,357)

    American University is offering The AU Emerging Global Leader Scholarship to international students, to promote educational access and opportunity while enhancing international diversity. Successful applicants will receive the amount of $68,357 for their study expenses ( including full tuition, room and board). The scholarship does not cover non-billable expenses such as mandatory health insurance, books, airline tickets and miscellaneous expenses (approximately U.S.$4,000 per year). The AU EGL scholarship is renewable for a total of four years of undergraduate study, based on continued satisfactory academic performance.  The sponsorship will be awarded for undergraduate study in any subjects offered by the university.
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    Full undergraduate scholarships from the University of Oxford, U.K. for international students from low-income countries 2020

    The University of Oxford is opening Reach Oxford Scholarship program, which offers a number of scholarships  to students from low-income countries who, for political or financial reasons, or because suitable educational facilities do not exist, cannot study for a degree in their own countries.  The scholarships are available for studying the undergraduate degree coursework in all subjects (except for medicine) offered by the university.  Each scholarship will cover full tuition fees, a grant for living costs and one return air fare per year.  It is tenable for 3 or 4 years, depending on course length. Students should note that they must apply for admission to the University before they can be considered for a Reach Oxford Scholarship. 
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    Full scholarship for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Science and Technology (USTC), China 2020

    USTC program is open for international students to study at the University of Science and Technology of China.  The studentships are available for pursuing undergraduate and graduate programs. The University of Science and Technology of China is a national research university in Hefei, Anhui, China, under the direct leadership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  It is a member of the C9 League formed by nine top universities in China. USTC Scholarship—Chinese University Program is a scholarship established by University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) to support USTC to recruit outstanding international students for studies in China.  The USTC Program provides a full scholarship which covers tuition waiver, accommodation, stipend, and comprehensive medical insurance.    
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