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Junior high school speech contest

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Every year in September there is a junior high school city-wide speech contest (英語暗唱弁論大会; eigo anshō benron taikai) in most cities in Akita. Students, typically 3rd years, practice during summer vacation. The winners of the city speech contest go to the prefectural speech contest.

There are two types of speeches: speeches (弁論; benron) and recitations (暗唱; anshō). Speeches are speeches written by the students. Typically the student writes the speech in Japanese, the JTE translates it to English, and the ALT checks the speech. Recitations are speeches taken from English textbooks.

Contents

Rules

  • The official rules are short, vague, and in Japanese. Ask your JTE to translate.
  • Participants are junior high school students, typically 3rd year students.
  • Speeches and recitations must be under 5 minutes.
  • Students must not leave the podium during the speech.
  • Students write their own speech, but the JTE and ALT can translate.
  • Natural gestures are recommended.
  • Things that make the speech more emotional can be powerful, but they can also be excessive. Things like yelling, stomping feet or hitting the podium may or may not be desirable, depending on your judges.
  • Recitations should come from current or former MEXT-approved textbooks. Only the textbooks themselves are legal sources -- teachers manuals are not.
  • For city speech contests, typically there are three judges: an ALT and two JTEs.
  • The rules for the city contest and prefectural contest (for winners of the city contests) are the same.

Notes

  • The textbook companies change speeches over time. Older books may have longer versions.
  • Judges often like speeches where the topic is a personal issue or hardship. World peace is a difficult topic.
  • Several years ago, judges in one city used the following point breakdown.
    • Recitation.
      • Delivery: 20 points. Eye contact, facial expression, voice control, pauses, gestures.
      • Accuracy: 20 points. Pronunciation, rhythm, intonation, skipping.
      • Degree of recitation: 20 points.
    • Speech. Note that speech topics are often found in authorized textbooks, though the speeches themselves aren't.
      • Delivery: 25 points. Eye contact, facial expression, voice control, pauses, gestures.
      • Accuracy: 25 points. Pronunciation, rhythm, intonation, skipping.
      • Degree of recitation: 20 points.
      • Content: 30 points. Grammar (10 points), interesting (15 points), originality (5 points).

Coaching ideas

  • Use tongue twisters as a warm-up. Find a problematic sound, and pick a tongue twister that uses it.
  • Practice yelling. Go outside and yell a tongue twister or the speech. Try alternating every sentence, where the student yells the first one, you yell the second one, and so on. This can help students open their mouth more.
  • Give your student a notebook. Write notes in it, including examples or tongue twisters. Staple printed pages or photocopies in it.
  • For teaching intonation, find a few easy example sentences. Practice them extensively. If you know how to write intonation, teach the student how, and go through the entire speech with them.
  • Take a sentence from the speech and try reading it with different feelings. For instance, a happy reading, a sad reading, a boring reading, an excited reading, etc.
  • There should be a very long pause after the title, if the student says the title, and before the final "Thank you." Students like to rush, so practice this extensively.
  • Give the student an extra copy of the speech. Make sure it's large enough — use several pages if necessary. In a notebook, glue the speech to the left side. On the right side, ask the student to write a Japanese translation. Help the student translate any difficult portions.

Marking up the speech

Type the speech into a word processor (you can copy and paste from the text below). Make some notes on it. If you have time, do some of this with the students, so they can learn what it all means.

  • Use a large font for important words. Typically, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.
  • Use small font for everything else.
  • Mark the speech with a / for places to pause.
  • Use a for combining words like foodin, reads foo din. Other examples: anapple, comein, kickit, anorange, situp, I hateit, pickitup, ShallI moveit?
  • Use ( ) around letters with no sound, like didn’(t) eat, reads didn eat. Other examples: ba(d) dog, a(t) ten, thic(k) carpet, bi(g) guy, ho(t) day, har(d) time, wi(th) that, look(s) sleepy, thi(s) shot, ta(me) monkey, I(n) nature.

Make a CD

  • Record the speech on the computer and make a CD. Or, do it on a tape. Or, do it on a cellphone.
  • Record the student and play it back (audio or video). Save a copy and listen to it in a few weeks to hear the improvement.

Common recitations

Title Book Year Grade Pages Words
Faithful Elephants Sunshine 2012 3 4 360
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf New Horizon 2006 3 6 423
The Giving Tree New Horizon 1971 3 8 623
Human Rights for All New Crown 2005 3 4 321
I Have a Dream New Crown 2003, 2005 3 4 263, 294
Limelight New Horizon  ? 3 6 434
The Lotus Seed One World 2005 3 4 384
Miss Evans on the Titanic New Horizon  ?, ? 3 4 315, 306
A Mother's Lullaby New Horizon 2007 3 4 278
The Mountain that Loved a Bird Sunshine 2005 3 4 356
October Sky Total English 2005 3 5 514
A Red Ribbon Sunshine 2005 3 4 313
The Spider's Thread New Horizon  ? 3 5 479
Spirit in the Sky Columbus 21 2005 3 4 375
Try to Be the Only One New Horizon 2006 2 4 296
The Whale Rider New Crown 2005 3 4 285
The Wisest Man in the World Sunshine  ? 3 5 415

Other recitations

Title Book Grade Pages Words
Africa New Horizon 3 4 312
After Twenty Years Sunshine 3 4 409
The Altamira Cave New Horizon 2 4 252
Archimedes New Horizon 3 4 363
Around the World on the Erika Sunshine 3 6 566
An Artist in the Arctic New Horizon 3 6 422
At the Ball Park New Horizon 3 4 405
Benny's Flag New Horizon 3 4 398
The Big Dipper New Horizon 2 4 316
The Blind Girl and the Mountain New Everyday English 3 4 338
Body Language New Everyday English 3 4 256
A Camp on the High Prairie Sunshine 3 4 304
Can Anyone Hear Me? New Horizon 2 4 265
Changing the World Columbus 21 3 6, 4 800, 473
Christmas Presents New Horizon 2 4 321
Clancy Columbus 21 2 4 422
Clara Barton and the Red Cross New Horizon 3 5 503
Do It Yourself New Everyday English 3 4 253
The Dog of Flanders New Everyday English 3 8 594
A Doll with Blue Eyes New Horizon 3 5 462
The Earth in Danger New Horizon 3 5 340
Echo New Horizon 3 3 268
The Emerald Lizard‎ New Horizon 2 4 280
Fight to the Last Sunshine 3 6 479
The First American Teacher New Everyday English 3 4 354
The First English Teacher in Japan One World 3 5 494
The First Weather Station on Mt. Fuji New Horizon 3 4 323
Fly Away Home New Crown 3 4 317
A Football Game New Horizon 3 4 356
From Mike's Diary New Horizon 3 3 288
Giotto New Horizon 3 3 267
Hiroshima Story New Everyday English 3 4 293
Holy Brothers One World 3 6 612
Hope for the Future Sunshine 3 3 269
I Am A Dog New Crown 2 4 211
I'll Always Love You New Horizon 2 6 323
Jimmy Valentine New Crown 3 3 417
Judy's Diary New Everyday English 3 4 266
Kiki's Delivery Service New Everyday English 2  ? 469
Language - Life of a People New Crown 3 6 346
The Last Leaf Sunshine 3 8 613
The Last Message New Horizon 3 5 443
A Letter from Mary New Horizon 3 4 386
A Letter in a Bottle New Horizon 3 5 581
A Lesson from Nature New Horizon 3 4 287
A Little Prince New Crown 2 5 348
Love is Action Sunshine 3 5 391
Madame Curie New Horizon 2 5 463
A Magic Box New Horizon 2 4 337
Maria Talks about Her Life Sunshine 2 4 344
Meow! Everyday English 2 4 247
Mike Goes to the Dance New Horizon 3 4 385
A Miracle Happened in New York Sunshine 2 4 304
A Moment of Peace New Crown 3 4 382
Mother Teresa Total English 2 4 352
A Mujina New Prince English Course 2 4 281
Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers Sunshine 3 4 329
On Your Graduation Day One World 3 6 491
Once upon a Home upon a Home Columbus 21 3 8 394
Paris New Horizon 3 4 347
Pasteur New Everyday English 3 4 251
Pete and the Orange Men New Horizon 2 4 282
A Pot of Poison New Crown 2 4 224
A Present for You New Crown 3 5 415
Red Demon and Blue Demon Total English 2 4 283
Rejoice New Horizon 3  ? 358
The Riddle of the Sphinx New Everyday English 3 4 262
Rocket Boys One World 3 4 564
Science and You New Horizon 3 3 318
The Second Biggest Country New Everyday English 3 4 252
Singapore, My Country Sunshine 3 5 352
Something for Joey Sunshine 3 6 416
Stevie Wonder - The Power of Music Total English 3 4 284
A Story by Dazai Osamu New Everyday English 3 5 514
The Story of Ivan New Crown 2 6
The Story of the Alphabet New Everyday English 3 4 236
A Strange Story New Everyday English 3 4 390
Summer Diaries New Everyday English 3 4 329
The Sun and the Moon New Crown 2 4 247
The Tezuka Osamu Story One World 2 5 383
A Thanksgiving Dinner One World 3 4 435
Tom Has to Work on Saturday New Horizon 2 4 340
Tom Sawyer Paints the Fence Everyday English 2 5 409
A Trip to Southeast Asia New Crown 3 4 244
Water from Fog Columbus 21 2 4 263
Visas for 6,000 Lives Columbus 21 3 4 424
The Wolf and the Fox New Horizon 3 4 401
What Color is Love New Horizon  ?  ? 206
Working in Papua New Guinea Sunshine 3 5 336
Zorba's Three Promises New Crown 3 4 318, 302

Illegal recitations

Here are some recitations from teachers manuals. The rules forbid recitations that are only found in teachers manuals, because only the textbooks are permissible sources. But it is quite possible that the following recitations did at one point appear in a textbook. Please confirm with your JTE.

Speeches

Here are some of the recent prefectural speech winners and runner-ups.

And here is a link to the speeches that made it all the way to the all Japan finals.

See also