This week at The Kingbridge Centre we have the pleasure of housing the 2013 International Independent Schools’ Public Speaking Championship (IISPC) hosted by The Country Day School here in King City, Ontario.
Students from across the globe ranging in age from 14 to 18 have gathered to compete in this intellectual competition with their peers for the opportunity to move on to the World Championship competition in Lithuania next year.
These teens present up to 12 minute memorized speeches (wow!) and debate some very sophisticated topics including long term care shortages and government policy. One of the most amazing things was observing the skill with which these students considered and responded to opposition, questions were addressed and rebuked with both respect and tact. Skills that are absolutely necessary for successful collaboration in business and beyond but that are often lacking.
In our global economy, the ability to effectively collaborate is quickly moving from a specialized skill for facilitators and moderators to a necessity for all. It is programs like IISPC and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology) that teach youth the ‘soft’ skills beyond the core curriculum of reading, writing and mathematics that will prepare students to be effective collaborators in the future. Gracious professionalism, active listening and the art of articulation and presenting a cogent argument are the keystone to successful cross discipline and cross culture communications that have come to define organizational success.
Today’s Kingbridge insight is both a question and a challenge, “How do we effectively integrate programs that provide the ‘soft’ skills required to thrive in a dynamic economy into the public school curriculum?” This challenge is obviously fraught with bureaucratic hurdles and funding issues but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress”
~ Frederick Douglass, Leader for the Abolitionist Movement