Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The GP Oral Presentation Contest is one week earlier than I had planned for. The in-tutorial preliminaries should have started this week to short-list the representatives who will represent their CTs in the 2nd round held next week in the LTs during GP lecture slots. This OP contest is intended to be the JC1s' graded assignment for Term 1, thereby giving us an alternative to marking written work by hand and reducing pressure on the new students so that they can enjoy JC life more. Also, it could be a load of fun for everyone.

The OP is to be given without AV assistance, and should be about some significant event that had taken place in recent history that had a significant impact on our lives today. Pretty much anything goes, really, and can be justifiable as such. For example, the development of the i-Pod has changed the way we access music and has led to the problems of piracy and copyright issues. Or the students could talk about changes in censorship laws in Singapore or what a change in PMs might bode for our near future. Whatever. Something happened, and now we live or think or otherwise behave differently from before.

A team of 4-5 members will represent each tutorial group, they'll all slug it out in the LTs next week, and the final 3 teams will compete in the grand finals a couple of weeks before the term ends. There is no set format in which the teams must make their presentations. They may opt for a straight prepared speech, play a skit, conduct an interview, host a talk show, whatever their imagination and creativity leads them to do.

But next week's deadline is very tight for what I had in mind. The first 2 weeks I intended to build confidence in my students. Only subsequently would I have unleashed the full magnitude of their OP obligations on them. I am making good on my promise to focus my tutorials on storytelling first before looking at GP proper and so far the activities and the students' involvement levels during tutorials have been encouragingly positive. Once they all learn to speak confidently and freely share info during tutorials will further lessons actually be engaging and fun. But, now no time , so how?

I don't care. I'm running my carefully thought out plan for my tutorial groups as is, but concurrently I will be training an 'elite' group of speakers to represent their respective CTs, giving them a crash course in research, discussion and presentation skills so they can compete competently next week. That's 'cheating' according to the word of rules governing the contest, but not the spirit. After all, I am obliged to send my best representatives to compete, right? No one should dictate how I am to go about selecting and training them. I wanna win!!!

But regardless of the outcome all my students should by the end of the term be confident speakers so that wherever they go from Term 2 on, they will continue to engage their tutors and each other, supporting each other in their preparation for uni life in the coming years. Well, let's hope I can pull it off.

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