College – Issue 40

SPEECH AND DRAMA It’s all about how you say it

College is lucky to have Speech and Drama teachers Tomascita Edgerton and Tania McVicar imparting their skills and knowledge through a co-curricular option that helps set our boys up for life.

It’s part of their job to listen to the voices, help the speakers learn to listen to themselves, open their eyes to the beauty of poetry and drama and, most importantly, to embed the skill of speaking in public confidently and well. “We’re really talking about having good, clear, expressive speech. We aim to give them the toolkit to speak in an appropriate way to a specific audience,” says Tommascita Having the content organised is only part of it; critical to the messaging, is the delivery. “Most people concentrate on content, and that is less than half the key to ensuring a speech is appropriate to the audience and venue, is interesting, arresting, sometimes humorous and engaging.” Every year, Tania and Tomascita are sought out by boys who recognise they need the life skill they can help with, and want the confidence to be able to get to their feet in any circumstance, and speak well. “Education systems in other countries often include oral communication that is not based

on a pre-written transcript. In that respect their students are often very accomplished,” says Tomascita. So how do they manage to do their job? Their lessons cover oral communication, both practical and artistic, including public speaking and presenting, improvised and scripted drama, poetry speaking, reading aloud, storytelling, and social skills. Students in pairs, threes or individually usually work towards examinations held by Speech New Zealand or Trinity College London.

Tania is not surprised by the popularity of the Speech and Drama programme.

“It is relevant and continues to meet a need recognised by students and their parents, plus society at large. The lessons offer a wide range of extension – for academic students through to foreign speakers and students with specific needs. “Speech and drama is about students developing confidence through creativity and taking up the challenge of sitting grade exams. The exams offer a wide range of platforms – from presenting talks and characterisation, through to poetry and literature study, with high-level students achieving at diploma level.” And the most compelling thing about the lessons is that what is learned quickly becomes part of the student, for use throughout their lifetime. “It becomes part of who they are, and develops another layer of confidence to prepare them for life.”

“ Speech and drama is about students developing confidence through creativity and taking up the challenge of sitting grade exams. ” Tania McVicar

College Issue 40 2021


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