By Ria Marie V. Robles, Teahcer III, Jorge M. Padilla NHS

One of the great challenges in teaching Oral Communication to grade 11 senior high
school students is to have them deliver an icebreaker speech- a short speech that would run for
about two to three minutes as an answer to a drawn pageant question or an expression of a side
or stand in a social or political issue. An icebreaker speech is commonly extemporaneous or on
the spot speech, and does not provide students lengthy time to prepare. The limited time
preparation could be the prime reason why most grade 11 senior high school students avoid the
challenge of delivering an icebreaker speech whenever possible. This said dilemma had been an
issue even before the implementation of modular distance learning due to COVID-19. Now that
the academic landscape is totally changed from face to face classroom setting to modular or
blended distance learning at home where the only way that the teacher can meet her students is
through virtual class using google meet or zoom, grade 11 senior high school are still a little bit
indifferent and uncomfortable delivering an icebreaker speech. Even if the teacher would have
some of her students deliver an icebreaker speech in class, the speech is usually short, seemingly
unorganized and commonly delivered in a hurry- the shortest time possible. The quality of voice
of the student suggests that he/she is doubtful and pretty much unsure in what he/she says which
is very evident in his/her very soft stammering, stuttering, and trembling voice. Long pauses and
fillers can also be glaring as the student tries to catch the next thoughts that he/she would wish to
blurt out alongside with translating his/her thoughts from the vernacular to English as the target
language. On top of these, his/her entire presentation could make him/her feel the creeping sense
of embarrassment as he/she sees the crowd looking back at him/her, patiently waiting for the laps
of the time allotted. This pitiful situation of students can cause them so much anxiety- a form of
psychological torture that could lead to heighten their defense mechanism which would prevent
them from participating similar class activities. This is the very reason why Oral
Communication is one of the least enjoyed subjects in senior high school.
One of the ways if not the best, which could help our students to crack the code in
delivering a better icebreaker speech is providing them a practical scheme that could guide them
organize their thoughts as quick as possible as they pick the topic they would talk about.

Students would feel better and safe if there could be a concrete formula like in mathematics that
they could hold on to in delivering an impromptu icebreaker speech. A formula or equation that
could facilitate them to logically present their ideas in a well- sequential, well- ordered and well-
compartmentalize manner. In this sense, 4S can be given to students as their framework that
could guide them in putting their thoughts in a unified structure. 4S represents the four major
aspects of presenting a point or argument, to wit: stand, sense, support and stand. These four
aspects are anchored in the anatomy of a speech well- structured speech where the stand presents
a side in an issue; the sense presents the justification or reason why the stand or side is chosen;
the support presents the evidences, bases, and foundations of the claim; and the last, back to the
stand which merely reiterates the chosen side. For example: provided that the issue at hand is
about “Death Penalty”, for the stand, a student can take the side of not favoring death penalty.
For his/her sense or justification he/she could claim that “death penalty is an immoral act”. For
support, the following can be presented as bases: 1) the Holy Bible prohibits killing. “Thou shall
not kill” can be quoted. 2) Emmanuel Kant claimed that taking human life is always wrong. He
believed that live is to be revered and no one may be ever killed for whatever reason. 3)
Confucius was also against death penalty. He instead promotes compassion and goodness. For
the final stand, it can be reiterated that “therefore I am against death penalty.
In addition to 4S, students could also be advised to use simple sentences at first- one
sentence per thought in order to prevent themselves from committing glaring grammatical
mistakes in using complex sentences. It is always good and safe to start simple. With these
basic tips, students could get their baring and get a good grip of their train of thoughts. This time
they could afford to pay attention on how they sound and how they establish rapport with their
audience by keeping an eye on them since they really got a point they wish to share.