Teenagers are often more comfortable communicating electronically than speaking face to face. Yet many events in teenagers’ lives require interpersonal communication skills to be resolved successfully. Now, more than ever, they need guidance in developing their communication skills.
Toastmasters International has created a new program to help teens build effective listening, expression and communication skills. The Toastmasters youth communication program, designed especially for high school students, offers a safe, engaging environment in which teens can help each other learn and practice these valuable communication skills. Unlike the existing Youth Leadership program, which will continue to function in its current form, youth communication can be presented by anyone in the community. The program contains an entirely new set of materials designed to be used by teachers, youth program administrators, guidance counselors, church leaders and other adult community members who mentor young people. The program was beta tested by educators around the world, as well as Toastmasters members and non-members alike.
Youth communication materials can be adapted to any classroom or youth program curriculum, and team leaders can choose exactly which materials they want to use with a particular group. The materials are designed to be modular and flexible: Team leaders can choose to present all the lessons or just parts of each module. Team leaders can modify any of the activities in the module or even create their own. Each module offers a wide variety of activities and can be adapted to almost any subject area.
The first module, Interpersonal Communication, has two components: the Team Member Manual and the Team Leader Manual. The Team Member Manual is given to the youth participants. It contains short assignments and other materials to supplement group activities, but it is not intended to be used as a workbook. The Team Leader Manual includes the entire text of the Team Member Manual, along with notes for the teacher that explain activities and offer suggestions for leading discussions.
Interpersonal Communication will help teenagers build a foundation for strong communication skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. Through this module, teens will be able to determine their own personal communication styles and learn how to effectively deal with other communication styles. They will also learn how to become active listeners who are more capable of expressing themselves and understanding others. The module includes guidelines for how to engage in healthy debates, use body language to communicate, and structure a successful speech. All these skills are necessary for earning a living in today’s competitive job market, but are also essential for maintaining healthy personal relationships and achieving academic goals in high school and college.
The Toastmasters youth communication program is designed for use by any organization dedicated to improving the lives of teenagers around the world. From serious personal crises to the academic rigors of high school, teenagers are constantly confronted by difficult situations. This module aims to build effective listening, expression and communication skills that will help guide young people through their teenage years and beyond.
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