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Teaching English and fear of public speaking?

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Teaching English and fear of public speaking?

Postby Winston » January 19th, 2013, 1:19 pm

Question:

I don't understand something. Psychology surveys say that the number one fear of most people is not heights, but fear of public speaking.

So what I don't understand is, how is it then that any average Westerner can go to a foreign country and teach English as if it were some normal thing without fear? What happened to the number one fear of public speaking? Shouldn't that paralyze most people and turn them away from teaching English in front of a class?

To those who have taught English abroad, do you have a fear of public speaking? If so, how did you just teach English with no problem as if it were a normal thing?

I taught English for a while in Moscow and found that it was a nervewracking and frightening experience. I did good as a teacher. But there was this constant pressure, like every second you had to think of what to say next - otherwise you'd look like a fool if you just stood there and said nothing - which kept your adrenaline on high alert, but was emotionally exhausting afterward. There was also this feeling of being put on the spot by having so many faces looking at you, which made you self-conscientious.

My voice also gave out after an hour of speaking, at which point my vocal chords felt strained. Why is that? How come that doesn't happen to other people who speak for hours?

So how can everyone talk about teaching English as if it were a normal ordinary thing without fear? I don't get it.
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Postby Renata » January 24th, 2013, 12:00 am

Nerves are caused by uncertainty & the unknown. It's good to do a Lesson plan prior to the class with activites & games etc. when you're prepared it gives you some control over the situation & after a while it's not so scary anymore.

If a lesson is 40 mins or 80 mins long, you should teach & talk for only 10-15 mins, then give the class an activity to do; written or a game to measure how well each person understood what you taught. While they're doing that you could walk around a few times & observe & assist where needed.
Songs & Videos clips can be used as well, in instances where you want to illicit information about certain topics. etc There's a weath of resources online too.

Wow you taught in Moscow Winston, ... how did your students recieve you? You're not white,... can Asians & brown girls like me teach there & get hired easily?
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Postby adann » January 24th, 2013, 1:20 pm

Teaching in a classroom and public speaking are totally different things that cannot be compared. I teach and I never get nervous. However public speaking totally sucks and I'd never volunteer for it.
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Postby ladislav » January 24th, 2013, 2:32 pm

In teaching most people just normally use a textbook which includes lots of activities. So you just follow a script and a lesson plan. Plus these are students, they are there to learn- in public speaking, the people are usually there for some other purpose and you need to capture their attention plus they can be judgmental. Not in a class where all they want is to do exercises and you "preside" over the procedure.
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Postby momopi » January 24th, 2013, 4:38 pm

Instead of wasting time asking "why", ask "how" then DO. "How do I become a better public speaker to achieve the results that I want".

http://www.toastmasters.org

http://www.toastmasters.org/Toastmaster ... Fears.aspx
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Postby Winston » January 24th, 2013, 5:26 pm

adann wrote:Teaching in a classroom and public speaking are totally different things that cannot be compared. I teach and I never get nervous. However public speaking totally sucks and I'd never volunteer for it.


I don't see the difference really. You are speaking in front of a group and have many eyes looking at you, and you have to think of what to say every second. How is that different? Physically, it's still the same. So most people can just get up in front of the class and speak with no nervousness?

Ladislav, students do judge you. They can complain to the school admin, since they are paying for the class, especially if they are adults.
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Postby Taco » January 25th, 2013, 11:56 am

Teaching conversational English is generally easier than public speaking because your goal is to get your students to do all the talking. However, each class has its own "personality" so if your students don't want to talk that means it turns into public speaking assignment for the teacher, which really sucks. Some activites I've tried when teaching English work really well with one class but are a complete failure with another class.
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Postby jamesbond » January 25th, 2013, 6:36 pm

momopi wrote:Instead of wasting time asking "why", ask "how" then DO. "How do I become a better public speaker to achieve the results that I want".

http://www.toastmasters.org

http://www.toastmasters.org/Toastmaster ... Fears.aspx


I agree, if Winston want's to get better at public speaking he should ask "how do I become a better public speaker." Toastmasters is very good, I know people who have used them and had great results.
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Postby PhilShackleford » August 2nd, 2014, 1:27 pm

I found that speaking clubs such as toastmasters (http://www.toastmasters.org/) really helped me to practice my skills and become more confident. I also read popular blogs from big orators like Tom Woods' http://curefearofpublicspeaking.com/ blog. This helped me to become really confident when teaching.
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Postby Ghost » August 2nd, 2014, 6:44 pm

They are not nearly the same. Teaching to a handful of shy Chinese students is nothing like public speaking. It can be a lot of fun and games and entertainment, such as videos and movies and music. Though I suppose if one is a lecturer, the situation is more like that.
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Postby Cornfed » August 2nd, 2014, 8:36 pm

Of course it can be nerve wracking at first, but you force yourself to do it enough times so you get used to it.
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