University English speech/presentation

At the beginning of the semester, we were informed that all of our students were required to participate in the university’s English speech/presentation competition on global issues. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about the details, especially about how we were going to fit the preparation and presentation of the various stages into our semester schedule. I allotted an hour here and there, increasing towards the date of the first stage.

Students paired up and chose a topic which interested them, then wrote their speech and prepared a Powerpoint (or similar) presentation. Earlier this month, each class presented theirs in-class, then the students voted for the winner. In each of my classes, there was a clear winner and runner-up.

The winning pair could revise their presentation before the teacher videoed it and sent it to the coordinator. A panel of judges viewed all the videos and selected three from the freshman level 1 classes, six from level 2 and three from level 3 (and similarly for the sophomore classes). To my surprise (and delight, mainly surprise), the pair from one of my classes was selected.

They revised again, and yesterday presented in front of the classes of the 12 selected teams, their teachers, a panel of three judges and assorted others. My pair had huge problems with their Powerpoint file, but the coordinators were very patient and the students kept their cool, and presented well. I would have been happy with them winning third prize, but third prize was announced and it wasn’t them, so I though, oh, second prize, yay. But then second prize was announced and it wasn’t them either, so, yes, to their and my surprise (and delight, mainly surprise), they had won first prize, an overseas trip paid for by the university. (The teacher doesn’t go with them!) They may have been helped by the fact that the other two pairs chose very similar topics.

All this despite basically not opening their mouths in class before then. If I knew what I’d done to assist them throughout, I’d do it more often! But I’ll put it on my résumé anyway.

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