Tuesday, November 21, 2006

2006 Speech Contests

2006 L. Hearn Speech Contest - 3.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

Click on this pic to be taken to 2 pages of pics of my kids in three specch contests: Lafcadio Hearn in Matsue, Hokuryo High School in Izumo and Gotsu HS in Gotsu.

Last year Taisha Chu had quite a successful speech season, winning at least one prize at each contest we went to. And one of my students won a prize at the first contest of this year, so that meant 4 contests in a row with at least one winner. But the streak was broken at Hokuryo and unfortuantely not reversed at Gotsu, with no winners at either of those contests this year.

Hearn is the hardest contest we go to each year - the selections are about 2 pages that the kids have to memorize and the English is somewhat antiquated and stilted at times - Hearn was an Irish writer who lived in Shimane over 100 years ago and wrote stories about his life in Japan and he also translated many Japanese myths into English.
Mami won a prize for her recitation of "Butterflies" which I've one student perform each of my 3 years, and Wakiko did a terrific job with her recitation of "Ubazakura" but didn't make the winner's circle this year. She loves English though and I know she'll try again in High School.

Mami became my "champion" student in a way - she entered two contests with me and won a prize both times, the only student I have to do that.

The other pics include new students trying their first contest this year. I was truly and deeply impressed with how hard two of my soccer boys, Junpei and Tsuyoshi, worked on their speeches and how much they improved. From barely being able to read their selections to getting up in front of an audience and delivering their speechs in loud voices with gestures, full of self-confidence - I was truly proud of them and realized that the journey is more important than wether they get a prize or not. The satisfaction is in the doing.
Yuna also did tremendously well for an ichi nen sei student, and I think she had a fun time, so she'll be back for more.

Both Saki and Ayaka got sick during our rehearsal time, so neither was able to fully deliver, but both did fine and I think both gained from the experience. It's tough, because I ask my speech kids to do a little bit of "acting" to really sell their speeches, but both of these girls, despite being genki and friendly, were reluctant to go the extra steps and constant cries of "hazukashii" (embarrassing) were heard. But both did a fine job with pronunciation and I think their English improved as a result of their involvement.

I urge any of you ALTs reading this to get involved with your kids in Speech Contests! It's a great way to spend time with your kids and get to know a few of them a little better.

Of course it helps to have an enthusiastic JTE helping or leading the way, so I need to acknowledge my speech champion - Yamamoto sensei, who lead the way last year and this year and really gave of her time to help the kids do well.

If my transfer to a High School goes thru, I hope I can continue to help kids with speech contests at that level.


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