Toastmasters help teachers improve public speaking

Monday, September 15, 2014

TEACHERS from various education institutions witnessed a Toastmasters Club demonstration session at the Jefri Bolkiah College of Engineering (MKJB) on Saturday, looking to pick up communication and public-speaking tips to enhance teaching effectiveness. In the longer term, they hope to transfer these skills to students to enhance competitiveness.

MKJB Deputy Principal (Education and Training) Burhan Hj Jais told The Brunei Times that the Toastmasters event was the first of several initiatives launched by the college as part of an overall leadership development programme to address shortfalls of confidence and public speaking skills among teachers and students.

“This is still the initial stage… developing skills of teaching staff from different institutions. Later, we will look at transferring them to the students. Our graduates will be in contact with various industries which will require strong communication skills to get employment,” said Burhan, adding that communication programmes hfor the students would need to be sustainable to have an impact.

He explained that education institutions have recognised that Bruneian graduates need to undergo a transformation should they wish improve their competitiveness.

“However, on a comparison, I don’t see that there is a huge gap. They are not far behind when compared to their peers from other countries.”

The Toastmaster session saw three speakers from local Toastmaster clubs deliver prepared speeches from the clubs’ Competent Communication and Advanced Communication projects, with the key objectives of effective and engaging delivery of information to an audience.

Guests from the audience were also invited to give brief speeches on random “table topics” derived from participants, before fellow Toastmasters presented evaluations of the speakers as well as assessment reports on grammar and other aspects of delivery.

Tourism Department Education Officer Tony Mohd Fauzi said that the sessions had shown him that being confident was important in communication.

“I can see that the Toastmasters are very confident and very informed on their topics… good reactions as well as gestures. I will pick up some tips from here. I like to work with my students, with fresh minds,” said Tony, who is a teacher at Sultan Saiful Rijal Technical College.

Seria-based Otters Toastmasters Club President Allen Ang hoped that the event would also expose the Toastmasters true objectives and dispel myths about its singular association with public speaking on a stage.

“The most important thing to take back from this session is that everyone can learn through doing with peers,” said

Allen Ang.

“We try to show them what kinds of events take place during a normal Toastmasters meeting. We show that we all have the same starting point and demonstrate how far we have all come.”

He further hoped that participants would be motivated after the session, realising that good leadership relied much on good communication skills.

The Brunei Times

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