Students need more than ‘classroom interaction’ for academic excellence

Such platforms enable students to learn how to communicate. / Courtesy

Apart from teaching and evaluating students, schools ought to have different platforms that enable students participate in activities such as public speaking, debates, reading news among others.

These platforms offer an opportunity for students to learn how to express themselves and also hearten them to assume different roles, something that plays a pivotal role in shaping their future.

For Anita Uwera, a campus student, low self-esteem was her greatest fear, however she utilised every chance she got during high school to be the master of ceremony at events that were organised at school, this with time boosted her confidence and her nervousness disappeared, she says adding that she can now address a big audience without shying away.

One can’t be better if they don’t work on becoming better. Your confidence can be enhanced only if you start engaging in things that challenge you, she notes.

Uwera adds that many students have graduated but can’t even express themselves as they didn’t get a chance to speak out or take part in debates, presentations among other platforms yet the world needs people who are confident and outspoken.

According to Isa Kiyingi, a language teacher at CCI-Essi-Nyamirambo, when students are given a platform, it can help them promote and realise their talents especially through evaluation of their weaknesses and strengths.

“If these platforms are used well, they could help or equip students with an element that fights against different antisocial acts done mainly by fellow peers. In addition, it helps them develop self-evaluation and growth in terms of how to be responsible in their lives,” he says. 

Furthermore, Kiyingi notes that confidence is developed as timidness and shyness disappear, since learners are able to stand in front of others and air out their opinions without hesitation. Also, an improvement with their speech delivery and public speaking skills can be achieved in the process.

He also says that such practices teach students on how to deal with criticism. This he says also helps them develop proper ways of respecting and tolerating other students’ ideas thus promoting peace.

For Casimir Manirareba, a language teacher at Lycee Notre-Dame de Citeaux, Nyarugenge, platforms like these enable students speak up and learn how to communicate with others appropriately.

He says, public speaking not only improves communication skills but leadership skills as well.

“You will also be able to read and understand people, this will advance your knowledge because communicating to others effectively makes you understand your content much better.”

Kiyingi further says that these platforms provide an opportunity towards promoting gender equality where all boys’ and girls’ ideas aren’t ignored. 

Also, giving a platform to these students helps develop or promote their career choices and decision making and some of them may become good future leaders, Kiyingi notes.

“Critical thinking will definitely be strengthened as students will be able to think outside the box. This will surely help them boost their creativity in their daily lives.”

Manirareba states that giving a platform to students is very important for their future life. To begin with, it is one of the design models of active learning or experiential learning, he says.

He emphasises that according to different education theorists including John Dewey, students learn better when they are engaged in opportunities that reflect such activities.

Giving students those opportunities, is therefore helping them to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical things in and outside the classroom, he says.

Kiyingi cites public speaking as one of the most vital forms of communication since it allows learners to form connections, impact decisions and motivate change.

“Again, giving students a voice strengthens their achievement and promotes workforce readiness. Today, we have shifted to competence-based curriculum to help our students be ready for the workforce,” Manirareba says.

Also, giving a platform to learners helps educators to know their students and identify their needs, which contributes a lot to good career orientation and motivating learners as well, he states.

Manirareba reckons that if students are offered such platforms, they will contribute to the school’s development and success by giving their thoughts and ideas.

They are also in position to find solutions to problems faced by the community. Students are able to develop a number of core competences important to their future life, that is; research skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, creativity and innovation skills, he notes.

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