Ａ “Recitation Contest”, where students compete against each other using their power of expression in reciting stories or famous speeches in English effectively using pronunciation, intonation, eye contact and body languages, was held.
Recitation is one of the learning methods that 10th and 11th graders experience in English classes by “reading aloud”, which improves their English ability and their ability to effectively speak in public. Every year, students selected from each grade are chosen to take part in the contest and the best students given awards.
The students who were selected to present, received instruction from native teachers almost every day, for about a month. They were waiting for the contest to start with a slightly uneasy look as they wondered whether they could show the results of their effort successfully.
The moderating students, who wore Christmas costumes, appeared and the contest started.
In the first half of the contest, 12 students in the 10th grade presented scenes from the story “The Little Prince”. Illustrations drawn by the other students from the same grade were shown on the screen behind them and impressively conveyed the images of the story.
Students did not just recite stories but they also absorbed the messages of each section and delivered them with conviction, slowly looking around the venue to express a connection with the audience and expressing the emotions of the people in the stories.
In spite being watched by all of the students in the two different grades and the English teachers who were judges they showed the results of their practice despite the hall being filled with tension.
Prior to the second half of the contest, presentations by students from English conversation class and from IB were also held. Their speeches about racial discrimination with their own experiences resonated with the audience and the power of the presentations was clear.
Then, 6 students from the 11th grade recited sections from “The Last Leaf” and “The Gift of the Magi”. 5 students also recited the famous speeches from famous speakers like Former President Obama and Haruki Murakami.
The students were inspired by the presentations of their juniors from the first half of the contest and performed with much more expressive force and confidence which was clear for the audience to see.
When a student stopped his speech due to nervousness, he did not give up and fought to remember his lines. The audience applauded his courage loudly.
After all the presentations were over, the results of the contest was announced and the winning students received awards on the stage.
The students who were chosen as the winners received a loud round of applause from the audience and smiled proudly.
At the end of the contest a teachers message was given to the students, “I was inspired by everyone’s hard work. Great job for today.”
“I practiced not only to memorize the story but also to speak with my own voice. I was not able to do as well as when I practiced, but I think I could tell everyone about what I wanted to at least a little.”
“In ordinary classes we take every day, we do not do much practice with speaking skills like how to pronounce words, and how to speak with inflection, but I got a lot of practice and I learned a lot this time. I also understood about the writers, stories, and the way to express emotion more clearly.”
The fulfillment from what they just accomplished was expressed in the students’ words.
Through their preparation for the recitation contest, the students acquired the ability to overcome the given task as well as sharpen their English skills. They felt a certain response that will help them in the future.