Most of us have felt a rush of cold sweat before an exam, especially if it entitled speaking in front of a board instead of hiding in the comfort zone of paper and pen. This is especially true when you have to express yourself in a foreign language.
The times when learning English was limited to learning grammar and lists of vocabulary are long gone. Nowadays we make special emphasis in the development of the students’ oral skills. And one of the main challenges is to make perceive public speaking as something they can actually enjoy.
This is one of the main benefits of the Toastmasters sessions at the EOI Fuengirola: to show our students that speaking in public is just fun, no matter your fluency or your grammar mistakes; that there are elements in a speech that are as important as an error-free production: body language and eye contact, efficient use of the pauses, text organisation, the element of surprise and the sense of humour.
Since last October, the teachers and students of the EOI Fuengirola are honoured to receive our Toastmasters friends and each session is a source of motivation and delight.
Last Friday 23rd January the meeting was led by Gloria, our former president, who chose “The benefits of becoming a Toastmaster” as the main topic. She was assisted by a team of Toastmasters members, performing different roles: Claudia, Jette, John Ana and Daniel (what would the EOI do without the Suarez family)?
We started enjoying Jorge’s table topics, adapted to our students’ needs so that they were fun but not too daunting, followed by two highly entertaining speeches.
The first one was Sergio’s “Sugar: Angel or Devil”. This is not his first speech at the EOI and our students love listening to someone who is not a native speaker, because they feel that one day, with effort and work, they will be able to do the same. Sergio’s topic choices are always interesting and this one was presented in a very attractive way, starting with his musical introduction (“Sugar… honey, honey”).
The second speech, “Is it really necessary…” was given by a super veteran, Helen, from Toastmasters Marbella. Here we could enjoy a rather puzzling explanation of how to shear a sheep given with skill and a very seductive voice (Helen should work on the radio).
To conclude, I would like to point out that one of the main benefits of Toastmasters for the EOI students is to show them that to be an excellent toastmaster you don’t need to have been born with “the gift of the gab”, with confidence and steady work (in other words, “if you stick to your guns”) anyone can excel in the art of public speaking.
Marta Moreno López de Uralde (Toastmasters Málaga Former Member and EFL Teacher at the EOI Fuengirola)