Effective communication skills are vital in today's world, and oral communication is a crucial aspect of it. In Secondary 1, students are expected to develop and enhance their oral communication skills, which are assessed by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB).
As a student progresses through their academic career, the ability to communicate effectively becomes increasingly important, and hence, it is necessary to develop these skills early on. By honing their oral communication skills, students can express themselves more clearly, articulate their thoughts and ideas, and engage with others effectively.
In this article, we will explore some techniques to improve Secondary 1 oral communication skills. These techniques can help students build confidence, communicate more effectively, and excel in their oral assessments.
New O Level Oral Communication Exam Format from 2023 Onwards
According to SEAB, starting from 2023, students taking the O Level English Oral test will encounter a new format consisting of two components. The first part is called "Planned Response," which requires students to prepare and present a response to a video clip displayed on a computer screen.
The second part of the Oral Exam is "Spoken Interaction," which involves students engaging in a conversation with examiners about a topic related to the same video clip. The conversation topics or questions will not be provided for students when they are preparing.
Main Oral Communication Challenge for Secondary 1 Students
Some of the difficulties that students face with the O Level English Oral Exams are due to the following reasons:
1. Part 1 is something completely new for Secondary 1 students
While they have had some practice with Stimulus-based Conversation (SBC) in primary school (similar to Part 2), they have not had much experience with delivering a 1-2 minute response
This means that they need to learn how to organise their thoughts and develop them further/substantiate their opinions.
2. At secondary school, the oral communication exam requires more understanding of current events than at primary school
Primary school SBCs oral questions often revolve around hypothetical events or situations, such as a school's open house, a carnival or choosing an activity to participate in.
Secondary school spoken interaction requires a deeper understanding of current events and society as a whole, which may be a challenge for students who are still adapting to the new syllabus of secondary school.
Techniques for Secondary 1 Students to Speak with Confidence
1. Prepare in Advance
Students should prepare their thoughts in advance and practise what they are going to say. This will help them feel more confident and prepared when speaking.
In Part 1 students are allowed to write notes on the paper. Take advantage of this, write down the main points as well as some pointers on how they are going to substantiate their opinion.
In Part 2, students should take some time during preparation to think about what the spoken interaction will involve. Spoken interaction questions often involve discussions about how the topic relates to society or the community, so students should think about the topic more broadly. What is the general society’s opinion on the topic, and what anecdotes/examples can they think of that could be useful during this segment?
2. Know What They Are Speaking About
Build up their knowledge of current events consistently.
Make it a habit to read the news as well as opinion pieces so that they know what’s going on in society.
Download newspaper apps on their phone so that they can stay up to date on current affairs
3. Practise Speaking in Front of Others
The more they practise speaking in front of others, the more comfortable they will become. Let your child speak in front of a mirror or in front of friends and family members to get feedback.
Let your child express their opinions. This will be beneficial to help them practise substantiating their opinion. Don’t just say whether they agree or disagree. Let them explain their stance and change to let you understand their point of view?
4. Use Body Language
Student’s body language can convey confidence even when they may not feel confident. Remind them to stand tall, make eye contact, and use hand gestures to emphasise their points.
To succeed in the O Level oral communication exam it is essential for students to speak with confidence and develop their oral communication skills. With adequate practice and preparation, one can enhance their knowledge of current events and practice speaking in front of others.
Using body language to display confidence can also be helpful. By employing these techniques, students can become skilled communicators and overcome any anxieties about speaking in front of others. This can benefit them not only in the O level English oral section of the exams but also in everyday conversations.
If you want your child to develop oral communication skills, AGrader Learning Centre is a great choice. As a reputable Secondary English tuition centre in Singapore, we have a robust curriculum and experienced qualified teachers who provide proper guidance and consistent English oral practice to help students excel in English oral examinations.
Our approach is to teach the subject in a way that helps students stay ahead of their school curriculum, giving them a competitive edge not only in English exams but in their future careers.
Give your child the gift of effective communication, enroll them at AGrader Learning Centre Secondary English Programme today!