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Individual talk

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It's very important that you talk to your teacher about your individual talk so that you've improved your confidence and skills by S4, when you may be assessed on that for your Standard Grade examination in English.

You need to talk to your teacher about practising your individual talk before you reach S4. In the video clip, Lucy is shown practising her talk to the class in S3. If you do this and try to follow a 'step by step' approach to improve it, you can practise so that each time you start to feel more confident. There's no need to talk to the whole class: if that does worry you, ask your teacher if you can start off by talking to one friend, or a group of friends, while you are building up your confidence in talking. Often you are asked to keep to a certain length of time for your talk. You may find it helpful if you could be given a certain number of words instead, so that you don't feel rushed when you are talking.

Don't think that you'll be the only pupil to worry about this talk. Most of your classmates will be anxious too, even though they don't stammer.

What will help you from S1 onwards

Revise

your work on planning, organising, researching and structuring your talk.

Work

in class, concentrating and listening to what the teacher asks you to do.

Write down all your tasks

be certain to know exactly what you have to do by keeping good records of your oral tasks.

Be positive and always talk to your teacher

talk regularly with your teacher about ways in which you can become more confident at talking. If you feel you need support to do this, ask your parents and/or your speech and language therapist to have a word too.

Now, if you've been following our advice, you'll know that it's not a good thing to panic and think that you can't do something before you've even tried. There are ways to help you complete your oral work requirement that you and your teacher can work out together.

If you've been regularly talking with your teacher you can go along and explain how you feel. A 'step by step' approach is worth following, so that you gradually talk for longer and enlarge your audience by the time you are assessed in S4.

You see, when you start to face the problem and look for ways round it, you'll feel better able to have a go and communicate your ideas in the best ways that you can.

What matters in an individual talk for Standard Grade English

Prepare the content very thoroughly

If you are talking about a text make sure that you know it very well. Structure the talk with a good introduction, middle and end and provide detailed and well-researched information.

Practise

Practise it in advance with a friend. Also, you might want to look at yourself in a mirror to observe your gestures and presentation. This is what many famous speakers do, so there's no need for you to feel silly doing this. If helpful, put brief headings on cue cards to remind you of your main points. You may look at these but you shouldn't appear to be reading from a script.

Try to use in your talk

Literary techniques like alliteration, similes, metaphors, rhetorical questions.(Deep down you know your teacher has covered these).

Good grammar

Varied and interesting vocabulary. (Practise new words when you talk to people, pronouncing them correctly.)

Audience

  •  Be aware of the reactions and responses of the audience
  •  Adapt your language to suit the situation and audience
  •  Try to stick to the purpose of the task and do not go off the point.

Communication skills

  • Remember to use appropriate gestures and, if you wish, visual aids to illustrate and vary your talk.
  • Encourage your audience to ask questions. This can take the pressure off you for a moment and you can think about your answer.

Remember that you can still communicate effectively even when you are stammering. If you've had speech and language therapy you will know that is the case.

Afterwards take pride in what you've achieved and set yourself another target to reach next time.

Lucy who stammers is practising her talk to the class in S3