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The speech contest is a very exciting and challenging activity. With
appropriate help and guidance from the teachers, students will learn how to present ideas
in a logical sequence and in effective language, and how to use public speaking techniques
to capture the audience. The exciting experience of talking to a large audience from a
stage, which may be nerve-racking at first, will certainly help develop students1 confidence.
It is also desirable to encourage students to organize speech activities within the class
so that all students can benefit.
To develop public speaking skills
To practise writing a speech
Level/Scale: S1 - S2 (Junior division)
S3 - S4 (Intermediate division)
S5 - S7 (Senior division)
Time: Preparation - I month
Activity - about 1 hour per division (after school)
A Speech Contest Organizing Committee consisting of a group of teachers (about 3) and
some senior form students can he formed. The English Club can also help with the
The major responsibilities of the Committee are
To liaise with the class teachers
To book the school hall for the competition and rehearsal
To arrange for rehearsal in the school hall
To publicize the activity
To invite adjudicators
To prepare the rules and guidelines for the adjudicators
To host the competition
To provide technical and financial support
To guide and train student helpers
To prepare prizes and souvenirs
1 Setting the date of the competition and booking the venue
The English Club or ECA co-ordinator should set the date of the
competition and book the school hall in advance, and inform the school technician
responsible for sound and lighting facilities about the event.
2 The Organizing Committee
About one month before the competition, the English Club or the
recruit senior form students and form a Speech Contest Organizing
This can be done through posters and announcements. Class teachers
should also he informed at the same time so that they can help publicise the event. The
rules, the date and details of the competition should be announced at the same time.
4 Rules and other information
Please refer to the Information Sheet at the end of the chapter.
5 Preparation for the competition
- During their normal English periods, students arc given some short and interesting
speeches (lasting about I minute) which can be read as comprehension exercises.
- Then students are free to choose one of the speeches. In order to involve everyone in
the event7 it is very important that every student is given the chance to take
part in at least the first round of the competition. This round should take place in their
own class. Indeed this would be very good training for students who are weak in English
and those who are too shy to speak in front of the whole class.
- The teacher can give students training in the basic techniques of public speaking.
Students then practise with the speech they have chosen, either in class or at home.
- Students may be grouped according to their speeches. Each student in turn then delivers
the speech to the whole class. The class selects the best speaker in each group to take
part in the inter-class competition.
- To enhance students' involvement we suggest that the teacher give the score sheet to the
whole class so that everyone can take part in the selection of the class representative
for the inter-class competition.
Intermediate and Senior Divisions
6 Rehearsal and Presentation
- The preparation and the selection of class representatives are the same for higher forms
except that the speeches can be written by the students themselves. This can be done in
one of their writing periods. This is a good chance for the students to familiarise
themselves with the writing of this particular type of genre.
Lots are drawn on the rehearsal day to decide on the order of
presentation. Rehearsals are important and they should be taken seriously because they
provide the with a good opportunity to practise before the event. This can help confidence
and overcome the problem of stage fright.
We suggest inviting teachers who have not been involved in training
and helping the students to be the adjudicators in order to increase the objectivity of
the judgement. It is also advisable to invite at least one teacher of other subjects to be
so that the activity can become a school-wide function, not just a function of
the English panel.
The criteria to be used should be announced beforehand, so that the contestants can be
better prepared. Students who are not contesting can also be informed of the scoring
system and encouraged to decide for themselves who the winners should be. This would make
them more involved and enable them to learn from the experience.
Speech Contest Topics
The choice of topics has to be done very carefully. The selected topics should be
interesting and related to students' interests. However, current issues can also be
Some suggested topics:
- Should schools adopt the prefect system?
- Should Civic/Sex Education be made a secondary school subject?
- Should smoking be banned from all public areas?
- Should sheltered homes for the mentally handicapped be allowed to set up in
- housing estates?
- Should there be legislation to protect the right of the mentally handicapped?
Each speech should not last longer than 3 minutes. A long speech is not only demanding
for the students but may also be boring for the audience.
To make the event a purposeful and successful one, it is of utmost importance that
skills in public speaking should be taught to every student.
Teachers should encourage students to go to the performances by the Speech Festival
winners to learn from the others.
As an alternative to getting teachers to adjudicate, the audience can be asked to take
pan in the adjudication. They can vote for the best performers. By doing so, more students
are involved and the whole event can become more interesting.
The winning speeches (at the intermediate and senior divisions) will be posted on
display boards or published in the school magazine.