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Are Speech and Drama Exams Really Necessary?

Scope of Speech and Drama Exams

Trinity College of London, London College of Music (LCM), and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) all offer Speech and Drama Exams. These exams are pathways to diplomas and certifications in the areas of speech, drama, and performing arts, from accredited institutions. There are 8 different exam levels, called grades. Students enroll in these progressive classes, leveling up through each grade exam completed. Multiple syllabi are offered depending on the program in which the student is participating. As they level up, students build upon previously acquired skills from lower grades. Students are encouraged to move laterally across different syllabi to pick up a variety of skills before moving up in grades. Exams are designed to prepare students for real-world situations, allowing them to employ creativity and effective communication with confidence to achieve success, especially in their professional and educational lives. Exams are a long-standing badge of honor and dedication to perfecting a craft and enhancing one’s skills in communication and public speaking.

Enhanced Communication Skills by Speech and Drama Exams

One of the basic pillars of Speech and Drama exams is the shaping of communication skills. Communication is a constant theme throughout all grade levels and categories of exams.

Participants learn how to express emotions and ideas through verbal language and non-verbal language. Communication is one skill that is undeniably part of every minute of every human’s life. We conversate with others, communicate messages to strangers through our body language, and even when alone, we communicate with ourselves through self-talk and self-care. Preparing for speech and drama exams allows for intentional growth and development of this essential component of who we are as individuals and how we contribute socially to society.

Listening and observing are essential parts of communicating. Candidates for speech and drama exams naturally sharpen their observational and listening comprehension skills, as well as their ability to respond to verbal and non-verbal communication from others. Speech and drama exams like Trinity, LCM, and LAMDA offer a wide range of syllabi to focus on areas from verse recital and prose reading, to Shakespeare monologues and the recital of other historically relevant texts. The overall growth and development of communication skills through activities that focus on premeditated learning targets help prepare children for effectively communicating across diverse settings and for a variety of purposes.

Preparation Leads to Confidence and Success

“Proper preparation prevents poor performance,” – James Baker, former Secretary of State.

Children who participate in speech and drama exams learn early on the importance of preparation. The prestige of gaining proficiency in each grade level inspires young children to perfect their skills, which in-turn builds confidence in their abilities to communicate and perform. According to Trinity’s current syllabus found at TrinityCollege.com, the “21st Century Employability and Learning Skills” being targeted and developed are, “ Communicative and Interpersonal Skills, Creativity, Working Under Pressure and Deadlines, Organizational Skills Critical Thinking Skills, and Confidence.” Participating in Speech and Drama exams provides children with intentional instruction and development in these essential life skills, giving them a leg-up in their development into successful, thriving adults.

Speech and Drama exams also prepare young children for interviews and discussions that may lead to further opportunities. Many schools require interviews to be accepted including P1 Entrance Interviews, College Admissions Interviews, and interviews for enrollment in prestigious boarding schools. Participating in Speech and Drama exams prepares candidates to ensure they have the skills and confidence to make top-notch impressions on entrance committees, increasing their opportunities for acceptance to prestigious programs worldwide.

What to Expect

Since the onset of COVID, many things have changed and Speech and Drama Exams are no exception. One important note is that all exam boards have now offered the ability for candidates to submit exams in video form or to present their piece online in real-time. These options are in addition to face-to-face exams. Students need to be familiarized with each exam mode and techniques to do well in these exams. This is a great way for participants to prepare for other interview scenarios. Many school admission interviews or auditions are being replaced by video self-introductions or responses to talking points about specific topics.

Participating in Speech and Drama exams prepares candidates to perform well in different modes of delivering information to a group, therefore increasing their odds of acceptance in desired programs.

As students master skills and complete exams, they will move up in grade level. They should also enroll in courses across different syllabi offerings to gain multidisciplinary skills. For most exams, candidates can either participate as a solo candidate or in pairs. This allows for more dynamic performances depending on the learning targets for each syllabus.

Trinity, LCM, and LAMDA are all exam boards that are well established and accredited by UK Ofqual to award graded and diploma qualifications. These qualifications are highly regarded by many academic institutions, including universities and prestigious boarding schools. While Speech and Drama exams are not required, they are undeniably one of the best ways to open doors for participation in some of the most sought after programs in the world and prepare students for success in life!

How Shy Children Improve Communication Skills

What parents did to help shy children improve communication skills

Oftentimes parents of young children who are very shy, overlook speech and drama classes as potential activities their child would enjoy and benefit from. They assume such classes are reserved for kids who are outgoing and desire to be the center of attention.

The fact is, shy kids can enjoy and flourish in drama and speech classes, often becoming some of the most dynamic performers due to their intuitive nature and ability to analyze situations.

There are many roles that must be filled in order for a performance to come to fruition. For this reason, drama programs are often a melting pot of people with different personalities and lifestyles. There is a space in the performing arts for everyone and typically, there is a heightened effort to create synergy amongst all participants.

Shy children will benefit from a program where they are accepted for who they are and encouraged to assume different roles and experiment coming out of their shell in a safe space. This is exactly the type of environment created in drama and speech classes.

Social Simulations Lead to Increased Comfort

When children are very shy, it is easy to think they do not want to engage in social interactions.

Realistically, all people, even children who may be very shy, have the same need for friends and social acceptance. Sometimes the unknowns of socializing with strangers are the scariest parts of interacting with others.

The constant mental anguish of wondering what to say or how to place your arms and stand all while trying not to be awkward can be enough to deter some people from participating in activities involving social interactions.

The more familiar we are with situations, the more comfortable we are in them; it mitigates the factor of the unknown. When young children participate in drama and speech classes, they are essentially getting coached through simulated social situations. Practice is the key to getting better at literally anything and that includes socialization.

Socialization and Communication Go Hand-in-Hand

One of the key factors of successful social interactions is the ability to communicate. Through simulated social interactions that are coached by caring adults, young children gain an opportunity to practice communication skills, which are some of the most important essential life skills for living a happy, fulfilled life. No matter what a person does in their free or professional time, they will inevitably need to communicate. The socialization-communication cycle leads to

the development of friend groups and social relationships. As noted in an article from psychreg.org, “Attending a performing arts group provides students with space for a social connection, creating a sense of belonging.” Very shy children will tend to socialize more when they are comfortable and confident in their ability to communicate and be accepted by their peers.

Benefits to Mental Health

Providing time for kids to practice socializing helps alleviate some of the anxiety revolving around communicating and engaging with others. Performing Arts programs have been shown to help reduce stress and boost confidence. Young children in drama and speech classes can learn to use the same skills they use to combat stage fright to alleviate school stress or separation anxiety. As they grow up and experience more complicated academic courses and peer relationships, kids will be more equipped to deal with the stresses that can come along with them and more adept at navigating these social scenarios thanks to the practice they receive in performing arts programs such as drama.

Growing up involves change. Young children experience many transitions as they grow. The transition from toddlerhood to adolescence involves leaving home or preschool to begin attending primary school. Kids often have difficulty processing these big changes and assimilating comfortably to new settings and people. Drama classes give kids the confidence to face new experiences and ease the pains of transitions. Through role playing, kids in performing arts programs can experiment with outcomes and remove the element of fear associated with unfamiliar scenarios.

From Shy to Star of the Show

It may come as a shock, but some of the biggest stars in theater have been described as shy people. According to Castingfrontier.com, “Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Jim Carrey, Danny Aiello, Melissa Rauch, Jim Parsons, Chris Pine, Tom Hanks, and Al Pacino are all known to have endured painful shyness during their childhoods.” Drama classes create the perfect space for young children who are shy to blossom and truly grow into their own personalities with confidence. Shyness can even be seen as a strength in theater due to the analytical nature of most people who are described as such.

Drama classes are for EVERYONE, especially very shy children! If you are looking for ways to engage your child and build positive life skills, drama, public speaking, and performing arts programs deserve a spot at the top of your list of activities to check out!

Why phonics is essential for children learning to read
Education game for children learning consonant vowel consonant word

Phonics for Kids

Phonics is the foundation for reading. It’s the first step of learning to read. Learning which letters make which sounds is a crucial first step towards reading fluently. Phonics teaches us how to decode words. By definition, this is the study of how spoken language is represented through the use of letters and letter groups.

Why every young child needs a foundation of phonics

It’s essential that children develop the ability to decode unfamiliar written words with letters or letter combinations. For children who are learning to read this allows them to understand what they are reading and to begin to spot patterns in words.
This knowledge will also be useful when they are writing in English as having a base understanding of phonics is essential for spelling words correctly. It is because phonics is the way we represent sounds with letters. When spelling words, it’s an essential building block of reading and writing.
Phonics is not just about decoding. It also helps us to understand letter sounds and how they relate to each other. Having a solid foundation in their knowledge of sound-letter relationships is the most effective way to help children learn to read.
Phonics gives us the tools we need to become fluent readers but it’s not enough on its own. Learning needs to be supported by other skills such as vocabulary development, comprehension and reading fluency.

What is phonics?

Phonics is a system for learning the sounds of letters and how they represent different sounds in words.
Phonics involves breaking down words into their component parts (or sounds) and teaching children how those sounds are represented in written form through letter combinations. For example, the word ‘cat’ can be broken down into its three constituent parts: /k/, /æ/ and /t/. Each sound is represented by a different letter (c, a and t).
This is an example of a CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant) word that is a good place for kids to start when learning their first words. Following the learning of CVC words, kids often progress to learning CVVC words (Consonant Vowel Vowel Consonant).
English can be a tricky language to learn. Children usually begin with learning short vowel sounds. After this they learn long vowel sounds and about letter combinations too.
An example of a letter combination would be the sound that “s” and “h” make when put together as “sh”. When these letters are put together they form an entirely new sound. That’s why it’s so important that children learn these letter combinations as soon as possible. They’re essential building blocks for later reading success!
Phonics teaches children how to break down words into their component parts, so they can work out what the vocabulary is and how to pronounce it. It helps them to understand the relationship between letters and sounds, which is particularly important when reading unfamiliar words or working with new vocabulary. When a child looks at a particular letter they need to be able to turn this visual symbol into a letter sound.

Why is phonics so useful for young readers?

Children learn to read by using the sounds they hear and then blending those sounds together to make new words. Phonics works best when it’s introduced early.
Having a sound understanding of phonics is vital for young students. If they are able to recognise the letter and know what sound it makes, it will help to grow their reading skills. And as they improve with their reading it will help them to do well in class which in turn will boost their confidence. We know that in education it is so valuable for a child to feel confident with their learning.
For example, if a child needs to read aloud to their teacher or peers it is really helpful if they feel confident in their knowledge of phonics.

Which system or resource is the best for learning phonics?

There are a plethora of resources available for parents and teachers. It may feel daunting to pick the “right” resource. However, the most important thing to consider when choosing a phonics program is simply by thinking about what would work best for your child. Think about their age and interests and the way you think they will learn best.
There are a variety of ways to teach phonics. Different methods incorporate a systematic approach using books, games, flashcards and songs. These resources provide lots of practice opportunities for your child to develop their knowledge of sounds and letter-sound relationships.
When deciding on a program or phonics resource for your child, think about what would be appealing and fun for them. For example, if you have young children, a program like Jolly Phonics might be a good choice as it uses music, singing and actions to teach the letter sounds.  
Perhaps you might also consider Letterland. This resource moves from Pre-Kindergarten grades through to Grade Three. It uses clever pictures to help children remember the sounds for letter combinations.
The most important thing to think about when choosing a program is to consider what is best for your child and what they will enjoy.  
There are many different ways you can use these resources in your home. You can practice them as part of a play-based learning approach, where you’ll talk about the sounds you see in each word as you play with toys or do activities together.
You can also use them as part of a more structured literacy lesson with your child, where you sit down together with a book and go through each word together looking for patterns in its spelling. For example, you might work with your child to identify how many vowels or consonants there are in each word.
Over time, you will find that your child will no longer need to decode each letter one by one. Instead they will begin to read words by sight and their fluency will improve overtime. By giving your child a solid foundation in phonics you will set them on the right path to become competent and confident readers.

Telling oral stories gives kids a chance to hear their own voices and communicate messages to others in ways that socially reinforce effective communication.
Boosting Kids’ Confidence Through Poetry and Storytelling

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Young children in Speech and Drama classes can practice communication skills in simulated situations, prepare them for P1 admissions.
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「拍片」幾乎成所有家長的「惡夢」,像聖保羅男女中學附屬小學和聖保羅…