By Joie Liew (18A13A), President and Rauf Hannan Azizi (18S06B), Vice-President
Two words that can strike fear into many hearts: public speaking. When delivering speeches, or just speaking in front of the class, we may often have vague ideas about our message but lack the words and means to accurately express our thoughts. The art of speaking is essentially about communication, about talking with purpose and meaning. It is not about achieving the “perfect” speech, but is about being able to use words and apply thoughts to deliver our message with clarity and focus.
Words have power, and here in Gavel Club, we support each other in developing and honing our ability to harness this power through public speaking. If you hope to improve and practice this essential skill, we invite you to join us!
You may be wondering: what exactly is Gavel Club? We are a subsidiary of Toastmasters International, which is an organization that aims to empower individuals in becoming more effective communicators and leaders. We follow their established curriculum consisting of 10 speaking projects as a part of our club activities. These projects are in the form of speeches presented during CCA sessions. Upon completion of all the projects, members are given a globally-recognized Toastmasters accreditation, certifying each member as a speaker and advocate.
Twice a week, we meet for about two hours to carry out the Toastmaster projects and to participate in a variety of speaking exercises. A typical session consists of warm-up speaking exercises, followed by one or two speech games focused on a particular aspect of speaking such as hand gestures, then speeches by members. These weekly sessions serve as a platform for members to practice and gain experience in speech-making, as well as to be guided by feedback from mentors and peers.
Besides speaking, we firmly believe in the importance of listening and being present during speeches by other members. In Gavel Club, we provide and sustain a safe space for members to explore issues close to their hearts. So if you have ideas waiting to be shared, perspectives to be presented, or thoughts to be voiced, Gavel is the place for you! We learn from each other, with fellow members’ speeches helping to widen our own understanding of the world and nurture personal growth.
Beyond CCA sessions, Gavel offers other opportunities to grow as a speaker. We often participate in competitions organized by other Gavel Clubs. This year, we attended the Tampines Junior College Inter JC/CI Oratorical Competition, placing in the top five speakers for both impromptu and prepared speeches. We also enjoy attending public speaking events such as TEDxYouth talks outside of school. (Field trips!)
In school, we contribute to activities such as emceeing for school-wide events or collaborating with other CCAs on matters regarding public speaking. For instance, we emceed for the Promethean Ceremony and the Y6 Farewell Assembly.
At Raffles, Gavel is not just a club. We are a tight-knit community of passionate and devoted students with diverse interests. Here is where strong friendships are forged, and where you can find comfort during this journey of improving public speaking skills. At its core, Gavel creates a supportive environment free of judgement for each and every member who joins.
Gavel Club welcomes all interested Rafflesians, regardless of CCA background, speaking ability, or speaking experience. Our selection process is not based on ability, but rather on one’s willingness to learn and improve, as well as receptiveness to constructive criticism and humility. We greatly look forward to welcoming our new batch of Gaveliers, whom we hope will grow as speakers and listeners through their time in Gavel!