Many visitors to our school have commented on how comfortable our students are with speaking up.
This is one of the driving principles behind Oasis. Our founding parents noticed that in language immersion programs with larger class sizes, students had relatively few opportunities to practice speaking at length in their target language, making it harder to develop fluency.
In the small classes at Oasis, students have many more chances to speak up. Teachers have them ask and answer questions, offer opinions, and engage in group discussions everyday in Mandarin, Spanish and English.
And in monthly Student Hot Chocolate meetings, students meet with school administrators to discuss school-wide issues and propose their ideas. They are not shy about providing their input! For Oasis students, speaking up is as much a part of their school day as is listening.
To build on these speaking skills, we recently launched an exciting new partnership with Toastmasters. Through Toastmasters’ Youth Leadership Program, students learn how to introduce themselves, how to speak confidently before a group, how to present ideas convincingly, and how to listen carefully and provide thoughtful feedback to others’ ideas. This program takes place once a week as part of the regular school day, and incorporates all three languages.
Our program also extends the concept of “voice” beyond the classroom to the community at large. In a December 2014 trip to Temple City City Hall, students not only made a presentation to City staff about their school, they learned how local issues and projects are presented and discussed, and even voted on a matter before the City Council!
Our second and third graders recently put these skills to use as they ran for class offices. Each candidate made a speech about why he/she should be elected, while the kindergarten and first grade students got practice evaluating and voting for candidates.
Whether it’s in the local community, school-wide, or in the classroom, developing a strong sense of voice is a big part of the student experience at Oasis.
[pdf-embedder url=”https://oasistrilingualschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Oasis-School-Calendar-2016.pdf” title=”Oasis School Calendar 2016″]