There is one way to help students develop public speaking skills. It’s definitely worked for me when I was an elementary school student. This should still work for current elementary school students and future elementary school students. Going up before a large crowd of people let alone a classroom of people can be pretty frightening for a student. It’s good to teach children at an early age to do this type of stuff.
One way is by essays. Give the students a topic to write the essay on. When they have their essays ready, have the students take turns reciting the essay in front of the classroom. Start small with the essays and gradually work up to bigger essays. You’re going to have to start small. Public speaking skills have to be built from the bottom up, there’s no other way to do it. Every strong foundation has to be built from the bottom up. Plus the only people the student is going to recite the essay to is just the classroom.
Reciting to the classroom can be frightening but keep in mind that the rest of the students are in the same boat as well. So everybody’s the same. Even the biggest baddest person can freeze when having to talk in front of a live crowd. Having students constantly go up in front of the classroom will help them get used to it. When students get used to talking in front of large groups of people, it will boost their confidence up.
You don’t have to do just essays. Essays can tend to be extremely boring in my opinion. There are poems that can be recited in front of the classroom for fun. Students can perform the poems any way they see fit. They can do all sorts of accents and humor the class.
Yes, in public speaking, one should use humor. If they’re boring, it’s going to put a lot of people asleep. With public speaking, if people fall asleep, it’s not going to be good. Mixing humor and seriousness is extremely important. Humor is a vital role in part of the public speaker’s charisma. It’s important to help the students develop that charisma. Even political candidates have to add humor when they’re addressing a large crowd, that’s how they become popular. If they’re boring, not many people are going to pay attention.
Try all sorts of games and excercises that require students to go in front of the classroom. It could be just one student or a group of students. Have them perform skits in front of the class. There are public speakers that do perform skits in front of people to make a point. It should loosen the students up to a point they’ll be confident about speaking in public. Even actors and other performers have to give speeches in front of large crowds. Make sure the skits are age appropriate.
Anyway, these are ways to help build students’ skills and confidence when speaking in public. Overall, it’s going to take time and it’s going to have to be hands on.