Author Topic: I really don't get the speech contest...  (Read 5965 times)

Offline Jotham

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I really don't get the speech contest...
« on: November 01, 2012, 02:37:32 PM »
Hi,

As i teach Eikaiwa in a juku i don't get to know all the ins and outs of what goes in at the schools, and this speech contest is doing my head in!
My boss went to the first round and videoed most of the speeches and we had a look (and a bit of a laugh) at the speeches and compared them. I looked at the mark scheme but still didn't really understand why the winners won compared to others.
What do the judges really look for?
How important is the intonation of a work? i.e. Lake Kawaguchi is the most popular lake. or Lake Kawaguchi is the most popular lake.
How many times do you need to grab your jacket pulling silly faces and shouting out to win the competition?
If they said it with a British accent would that be wrong?
I saw students saying their Ls and Rs, Bs and Vs, and THs with cringe worthy pronunciation but got high marks.

Over all it's really difficult to advise my students if i don't know what the judges want. Also, how much of a say to the gaijin judges have compared to the Japanese? What are the Japanese judges looking for?

Any advice?
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Offline Jotham

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2012, 02:42:48 PM »
Also, whats the difference between the contest held last Thursday (25th) for Tsuru, Kawaguchi, etc that then goes on to the Prefecture round on 22nd of Nov and the contest next Thursday (8th) that is only one round?
Do the judges look for different things?
Is the point system different?
etc
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Offline Josiah

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2012, 02:45:27 PM »
The best you can do is make sure they're prepared, they don't have an accent, and their speech puts Japan in a positive light.

As far as I know, most of the judges make their minds up before they even hear the speeches and it's all based on things that are completely arbitrary. Plum would disagree because she used to win every year and works super hard, and I've only been to 1 before, but it does seem like more deserving people miss the podium every year.

The one I went to, I didn't think the top 2 should have placed, 3rd should have been first, and my girl should have gotten 3rd or at least some kind of special mention. It is what it is.

Offline Coleman

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2012, 02:47:19 PM »
Hi,

As i teach Eikaiwa in a juku i don't get to know all the ins and outs of what goes in at the schools, and this speech contest is doing my head in!
My boss went to the first round and videoed most of the speeches and we had a look (and a bit of a laugh) at the speeches and compared them. I looked at the mark scheme but still didn't really understand why the winners won compared to others.
What do the judges really look for?
How important is the intonation of a work? i.e. Lake Kawaguchi is the most popular lake. or Lake Kawaguchi is the most popular lake.
How many times do you need to grab your jacket pulling silly faces and shouting out to win the competition?
If they said it with a British accent would that be wrong?
I saw students saying their Ls and Rs, Bs and Vs, and THs with cringe worthy pronunciation but got high marks.

Over all it's really difficult to advise my students if i don't know what the judges want. Also, how much of a say to the gaijin judges have compared to the Japanese? What are the Japanese judges looking for?

Any advice?

There is an answer, but its not what you want to hear.  Each contest has its own criteria.  Some JHS contest score 20 points for memorization, 40 points for English ability, 30 points for posyure and speech giving abilities and 10 points for judges overall impression.  These categories are further broken down into 5 points for intonation, 5 points for rhythm, 5 points for connecting with the audience... and so on.  This is only for recitation contest.

In Speech contest, usually only 2nd year HS students, the judges also incorporate a  large % for speech content.  I think last year was 50% content, 20% memorization and 30% English ability... Kinda shitty when you think about it being an English comp...

Anyways, all that said, it really comes down tot he judges.  The Japanese judges (in my experience as a judge, not a contestant coach) have always been big on giving points for gestures and "acting or drama", the foreign judges usually focus on English more than anything else. 

Its a toss up, and it depends on if you will have 2 Japanese judges and 1 foreigner, or 2 foreigners and 1 Japanese judge... 

Good luck prepping the kids after reading that. :)

Offline Josiah

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2012, 02:49:06 PM »
I should mention when I say the judges make up their minds before they walk in, it has to do with what Coleman mentions about the speech content. The speeches are pre-read, so (in my opinion, which I've heard is shared by several) it's pretty difficult for them not to walk in with a strong bias.


Offline Coleman

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 02:50:11 PM »
The best you can do is make sure they're prepared, they don't have an accent, and their speech puts Japan in a positive light.

As far as I know, most of the judges make their minds up before they even hear the speeches and it's all based on things that are completely arbitrary. Plum would disagree because she used to win every year and works super hard, and I've only been to 1 before, but it does seem like more deserving people miss the podium every year.

The one I went to, I didn't think the top 2 should have placed, 3rd should have been first, and my girl should have gotten 3rd or at least some kind of special mention. It is what it is.

They judges are asked to evaluate the content of the speeches before the contestant gives them, we get a copy weeks in advance.  But, that being said, the winners are an average of the 3 judges, and if a tie happens we usually look at the average score among the 3 judges... The less the standard deviation the better. 
Judging is a subjective thing, so people will always disagree. 

Offline Jotham

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2012, 02:52:41 PM »
As far as I know, most of the judges make their minds up before they even hear the speeches and it's all based on things that are completely arbitrary.

Even for JH? I kind of understand (but totally disagree) with the highschool ones as they have to write their own speech but for JH how can they get judged before their speech?
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Offline Coleman

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2012, 02:55:10 PM »
As far as I know, most of the judges make their minds up before they even hear the speeches and it's all based on things that are completely arbitrary.

Even for JH? I kind of understand (but totally disagree) with the highschool ones as they have to write their own speech but for JH how can they get judged before their speech?

He meant HS only, speech contest only... Content is not judged in JHS. 

Offline Jotham

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2012, 03:23:50 PM »
I know you get slammed for this all the time but this is in the JHS section. I don't teach any HS but thanks anyway  ^-^
As for the JHS; a student with very good pronunciation but a poor performance generally doesn't do as well as someone doing the dancing and shouting with a few pronunciation mistakes...Paul Lush!
That sound right?
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Offline Terranasaurus Rex

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2012, 03:38:55 PM »
I know you get slammed for this all the time but this is in the JHS section. I don't teach any HS but thanks anyway  ^-^
As for the JHS; a student with very good pronunciation but a poor performance generally doesn't do as well as someone doing the dancing and shouting with a few pronunciation mistakes...Paul Lush!
That sound right?

Yes. And even if they have spectacular pronunciation, perfect memorization, and smooth, natural gestures, there's no guarantees that they won't lose a huge number of points in all sections!
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Offline LozZz

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2012, 03:44:44 PM »
My advice is to just coach them as YOU see fit. My JHS kids recently had their recitation contest for our area. I'd never had to coach for the recitation contest before so I didn't know what to expect from the judges. I hate the huge gestures we see way too often here so I just focused on the pronunciation and the delivery and discouraged any overacting or big gestures (I said only to gesture if it was something they'd do naturally). My second and 3rd grade kids won.

The head judge had a little talk at the end and said he hates big or overused gestures. This is when most of the other judges got a little shitty, as he apparently came out last year wearing a gorilla mask and said he wanted more acting and gestures so the students stand out  :-o

Offline Croninokehige

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2012, 04:31:21 PM »
I know you get slammed for this all the time but this is in the JHS section. I don't teach any HS but thanks anyway  ^-^
As for the JHS; a student with very good pronunciation but a poor performance generally doesn't do as well as someone doing the dancing and shouting with a few pronunciation mistakes...Paul Lush!
That sound right?

Not at my speech contest it ain't! I've also been the judge the past two years (and as of this time tomorrow, all three years) that I've sent students, and one of the things that I emphasize every year is that the gestures are needless and distracting. You need *some* emotion in your speech, at the appropriate points-- you don't want to sound like a text-to-speech program-- but you don't want to sound like you're on the verge of tears while you're talking about how many of Paul's students had to go to war and Paul had to leave Japan too, and how he was very sad. Same goes for not screeching "PLEASE, HELP US!" because you're a Jew from Poland running away from the Nazis and want to get away to a safe place through Japan. Memorization is extremely important. Pronunciation is most important, in my book, but I forgive pretty easily on some pronunciation since it's the hardest category. Intonation/rhythm is important too, because it shows that they understand what they're reading and what it actually means.

Pretty much, the answer is "it depends". For me, your example would be wrong; I put a lot more value on actually being about to say "Rusch" instead of "Lusch", "football" instead of "hootbooru", and "war" instead of "woaa" or however they mangle that one. It's a speech contest, not a theatrical performance-- their speaking is what should count.

Offline Khaleesi

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2012, 04:36:10 PM »
Please keep in mind that the speech content is judged before the speech actually takes place, so thry go in there with 50 percent of their work graded already.
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Offline Coleman

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2012, 04:47:14 PM »
Please keep in mind that the speech content is judged before the speech actually takes place, so thry go in there with 50 percent of their work graded already.

We went over this and were reprimanded for it being a JHS thread (which was accurate, so I'm not being snarky, just factual)... 

Offline Khaleesi

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2012, 05:02:45 PM »
ahhhh...then shouldn't it be changed to "recitation contest" ?


snark.
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Offline Croninokehige

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2012, 06:24:28 PM »
ahhhh...then shouldn't it be changed to "recitation contest" ?


snark.

All my JTEs call it a speech contest. They may be reciting, but they're still speaking, and being judged on their speech.

Offline Josiah

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2012, 06:33:57 PM »
ahhhh...then shouldn't it be changed to "recitation contest" ?


snark.

All my JTEs call it a speech contest. They may be reciting, but they're still speaking, and being judged on their speech.

Here we gooooo!!!


Offline Croninokehige

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2012, 06:35:26 PM »
Nah, it's not anything worth fighting over. Khalessi can argue that it should be called recitation contest all she likes, and that is indeed its official title, but it is also commonly known as a speech contest for JHS students.

Solid .gif, though.

Offline WadeB

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2012, 10:00:41 AM »
I don't understand why so many judges (esp. Japanese) put emphasis on gestures to a point that it becomes comical. Every one (myself included) who judges these events has their own view/bias on how a student should recite their speech, but is it really so important in upper levels that overacting is necessary? There was one student at my speech contest last week making Paul Rusch look like Harry Potter in a kabuki play, and during our point tallying was told she had the gestures because higher levels require them. I didn't even place her in my top 3 while the other judges did; have the majority of JTEs not seen an actual public speech or something?  :-P

Offline Coleman

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2012, 12:05:50 PM »
I don't understand why so many judges (esp. Japanese) put emphasis on gestures to a point that it becomes comical. Every one (myself included) who judges these events has their own view/bias on how a student should recite their speech, but is it really so important in upper levels that overacting is necessary? There was one student at my speech contest last week making Paul Rusch look like Harry Potter in a kabuki play, and during our point tallying was told she had the gestures because higher levels require them. I didn't even place her in my top 3 while the other judges did; have the majority of JTEs not seen an actual public speech or something?  :-P

From my understanding the gestures used to be on the score cards themselves, but this was removed a few years back... The instructions on judging now mention the overt gestures should be penalized, but this does not seem to happen.  Old habits die hard. 

Offline Khaleesi

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2012, 12:14:53 PM »
(甲府市)英語暗礁大会コンテスト
Kofu City English Recitation Contest.



It's important that we keep the misnomers where they belong.  At the vault.
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Offline B-roni

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2012, 12:24:10 PM »
Yes I like what Lozz said,

Teach them to what you think is best, try and improve their pronunciation and have them not sound like a speak and spell. I make sure they understand the content too in hopes to help their rhythm. Then give them a cd with me reading the script, the rocky track, and joe esposito karate kid song.  :wink:
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Offline Khaleesi

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2012, 12:39:27 PM »
I no longer have to fake an empathetic nature....this year my schedule was split between 2 schools per week and the classes were scheduled so late in the day at the college that I could only practice 6 times with my JHS students.  Every effort to try and practice after 4:45 was met with quite a hard line response from the school.  This place is deserted by 5:00.  Even off campus was a no-go.

It's looking pretty bad.

good luck
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Offline B-roni

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2012, 12:46:00 PM »
So you're sayin there's a chance?  :wink:

Luckly, over here kids don't leave till 6 or 7...I don't think I've ever seen a teacher leave before me either and I've stayed until 7:30- 8 plenty of times.

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Offline Jotham

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2012, 01:15:25 PM »
Thanks for all the advice. Sorry for calling it a "speech" as this is all I've heard it being called so far. How about the Fuji five lakes and takeda shingen speeches. are these speeches or recitals, as they have to add their own bit at the bottom? are the extra bits judged before the contest? how important are they?
I usually get a couple of hours a week with my students as they can come whenever they want after school and weekends to my juku.
as for the gestures, the guy who won the first round for the third graders could have almost gone hulk if he'd pulled his jacket anymore. I don't get it.
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Offline Khaleesi

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2012, 01:54:45 PM »
So you're sayin there's a chance?  :wink:

Luckly, over here kids don't leave till 6 or 7...I don't think I've ever seen a teacher leave before me either and I've stayed until 7:30- 8 plenty of times.

It'd be nice to be needed again at the high school level.  They were starting to call me "the champion-maker".  But evenI can't do much with 6 hours total practice time.  :(

I am not allowed academic contact with my students after 445/ off campus because it violates insurance concerns. :(
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Offline Terranasaurus Rex

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2012, 02:33:07 PM »
I personally call it the 'speech contest' because I can't for the life of me remember what the words are in Japanese, and trying to tell home room teachers or basically anyone that we are going to practice for the recitation contest is met with nothing but blank stares...but if I say speech contest they understand. Also it's a pain in the ass to always spell out recitation. Also my JTEs always try to say recitation and fucking fail at pronouncing it, so I would rather us just call it the speech contest. Is it correct? No. Do I care?
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Offline jesse

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2012, 03:19:25 PM »
i dont care what you call it, but i can tell you that in all the contests ive participated in, the Japanese judges always want a good emotional delivery more than anything else.  That doesnt mean gestures are outrageously mellowdramatic or plentiful, but done in a natural sense.  but obviously this depends on whatever judges you get.   

Pronunciation for many japanese judges is a worthless category.  about 3 years ago, i had a brilliant 2nd year girl recite her speech with absolutly perfect pronunciation.  if you listened to a recording you wouldnt know she wasnt native, then both the japanese judges gave her shit marks on pronunciation (like one JTE was 25/40) and both native judges gave her 40/40, then she got 2nd or 3rd prize i dont remember, because the rest of her speech was perfect too. 

so in conclusion from my exp.  japanese judges seem to want emotion in delivery, with not necessarily good pronunciation (because many cant tell?), rapport with the audience, and an apporpriate amount of gestures (which tends to be a shot in the dark because every year they say totally different shit about them.) though recently too many gestures are frowned upon here. 


So i just work to make them better upon my own standards and hope for the best. 
 

Offline Khaleesi

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2012, 03:37:40 PM »
I personally (as one of the 2 foreign judges in the past) always score low when they go to the other end of the spectrum...if they're TOO effussive and energetic it comes across as annoying.  Especially when the girls shout "Please help us!" in the Sugihara script.  Like they are up for the Academy Award.  Makes me cringe.  Or when they slap the podium.  WTF?  Find a compassionate medium...

But that would only make the difference between 1 and 3rd place, I think, if they nailed the pronunciation.

A teacher (Japanese) from Eiwa once mentioned I was always hard on Eiwa--implying I didn't want them to succeed--, but I wasn't, they just cranked out really Sybill-like contestants when I was judging.

So basically Jotham, judge preference can come down to a lot of the expectations.  You don't want to bore them, you should be giving the energy, but you don't want to come across as forced or flap your arms like a chicken.
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Offline Jotham

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Re: I really don't get the speech contest...
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2012, 04:35:09 PM »
Thanks very much everyone. That all really helps. The fact that everyone has a different opinion and all those opinions are different to the Japanese judges means that you can teach them how you like and toss a coin on the day.
Cheers  ^-^
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