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webstaa
June 30th, 2014, 15:33
So, anybody have any link or know of any repository of past speech contest recitations (for the 暗唱 part of the 暗唱弁論大会)?

Aside from the textbook stories that seem to be perennial favorites, anybody have any recommendations?

Ini
June 30th, 2014, 19:07
write an original one what suits your kids personality. taylor the vocab so there are no words that they just cant say properly rather than spend 4 weeks working through the same sentence over and over again.

coop52
June 30th, 2014, 19:24
Agreeing that original is best. If your JTE teeth-sucks at that idea, then pick anything but Mother's Lullaby, for the love of Jesus.

webstaa
July 1st, 2014, 08:08
write an original one what suits your kids personality. taylor the vocab so there are no words that they just cant say properly rather than spend 4 weeks working through the same sentence over and over again.

You mistake me for someone who has motivation. Mother's Lullaby it is... or maybe the spider's thread one...

Ebi
July 7th, 2014, 19:05
I think the recitation speeches must come from official textbooks in order to qualify. Speeches can be anything, and more often than not they're written by the ALT/JTE(s) more than the student.

The best resource I've found for recitations so far is the Akita-ken JET website: Junior high school speech contest - Akita Wiki (http://akitajet.com/wiki/Junior_high_school_speech_contest)

But note that most of them are just as weird/depressing as Mother's Lullaby. I hate the one about the starving elephants especially.

Ini
July 7th, 2014, 19:38
Might depend on your prefecture but I always used to write original recitation speeches.

Ebi
July 7th, 2014, 19:53
If we could I would gladly do that. But I'm pretty sure our rules restrict recitations to just things that have been published in MEXT-approved textbooks.

Out of curiosity, are the judges for your speech contests mostly Japanese people? Our pattern seems to be: one native speaker, two Japanese. Some years we don't even get very fluent English speakers as judges, which kind of makes the whole thing worthless since the judges don't really know when the students sound unnatural.

Ini
July 7th, 2014, 19:58
Again depends on prefecture, I've seen 1 J 2 G and 2J 1G.

Gizmotech
July 8th, 2014, 11:04
Might depend on your prefecture but I always used to write original recitation speeches.

Aren't those just the regular speeches then?

webstaa
July 8th, 2014, 11:13
So I gave the teachers a selection of speeches, including some more original ideas. And... they chose the old standbys from the textbooks.

At least I get to write and translate the essays for two of my students. Although my JTE was resistant to me making them do most of the translating and me mostly helping.

Ini
July 8th, 2014, 11:16
nah. speeches have to be writtten by the kids *snigger* and will be about them. recitation are just stories or passages. One year Harry potter was at its peak (think azkaban was out in the cinemas) and the kid was obsessed with it so i wrote up the scenes where hagrid tells harry hes a wizard from the first movie into a 4 minute recitation. went to prefectural finals with that bad boy.

webstaa
July 8th, 2014, 11:18
Yeah, the kids write their essays and then my JTE's want me to translate them for them. My pred. did that and use WAY to much high level vocabulary. So I'm making the kids do the bulk of the work and sitting back and relaxing and only stepping in when they sigh at me.

Ini
July 8th, 2014, 11:19
go through the speech and remove any words with too many R's and L's in them.

Jiggit
July 8th, 2014, 11:28
Yeah, the kids write their essays and then my JTE's want me to translate them for them. My pred. did that and use WAY to much high level vocabulary. So I'm making the kids do the bulk of the work and sitting back and relaxing and only stepping in when they sigh at me.

The kids will use high level vocab if they do it too cause they'll just grab a dictionary the second they run into a word they don't know.

Also avoiding l/r and th in English is not really possible. Obviously avoid really tricky stuff but don't expect to get it perfect.

Ini
July 8th, 2014, 11:40
you cant avoid them but you can reword sentences so they are spread out a bit. "The long line ran right through the theatre" is just going to cause you a long boring summer....

webstaa
July 8th, 2014, 11:58
Luckily, I won't see them from the end of the term until the beginning of August... Burning my banked nen-kyuu.

therealwindycity
July 8th, 2014, 15:33
nah. speeches have to be writtten by the kids *snigger* and will be about them. recitation are just stories or passages. One year Harry potter was at its peak (think azkaban was out in the cinemas) and the kid was obsessed with it so i wrote up the scenes where hagrid tells harry hes a wizard from the first movie into a 4 minute recitation. went to prefectural finals with that bad boy.

I really like this idea. A dialogue where the student is forced to change their voice, facial expression, etc. to convey the different characters is way better than a monologue, if you can convince your JTEs to do it, and it's also more fun to teach.

Jiggit
July 8th, 2014, 15:35
Depends heavily on the kind of kid you have. I swear my last kid you could literally put a gun up to her family's heads and she would still read it in the same bored monotone.

coop52
July 8th, 2014, 17:59
That's why I usually prefer kids who are already outgoing, even if their pronunciation's a bit crap. It's a lot easier to get a kid to pronounce things better than it is to get a quiet kid to be louder.


Edit to add- my pref does 3 natives (2 SHS ALTs and the ALT coordinator) and 2-3 Japanese people (usually SHS JTEs or college professors). I've done original adaptations before, even a rewrite of one of the crappy stories from the textbook, and no one noticed. My first year, the JTE told me to do Alice in Wonderland. I was dumb and made the poor kid do an abridged version of the whole story rather than an excerpt. It was way longer than anyone else's, but the kid still managed to get in all in within the time frame.

That Akita Wiki is a good starting point if you have absolutely no clue and just want to pick something.

Jiggit
July 8th, 2014, 18:06
It is literally impossible to get a quiet kid to be loud. Once a Japanese kid has contracted the shizukas they are screwed for the rest of their life.

Spacey
July 9th, 2014, 15:28
For the love of all that is good, don't get them write a speech about "my dream and working hard to get it" because as a judge I got sick of hearing the same topic over and over again.

Gizmotech
July 9th, 2014, 15:32
For the love of all that is good, don't get them write a speech about "my dream and working hard to get it" because as a judge I got sick of hearing the same topic over and over again.

Ya, but inevitably, that's the type of speech that wins. Regardless how good another speech might be for content or delivery, it's always about the struggle and perseverance stories that take the cake. Especially if the kid was bullied or abused while chasing their dream.

Jiggit
July 9th, 2014, 17:36
For the love of all that is good, don't get them write a speech about "my dream and working hard to get it" because as a judge I got sick of hearing the same topic over and over again.

Yeah what gizmo said. If you don't want to hear those speeches stop giving them the damn prizes.

coop52
July 9th, 2014, 20:10
Every year the judges in my pref tell the kids to stop doing bukatsu speeches since they're boring, and every year over 80 percent of the speeches are about how they made an effort in baseball/brass band/volleyball/table tennis club. The other 20 percent are about some kind of tragic event, usually a dead grandmother or overcoming some rare illness. One year, the kid that won had terrible pronunciation, but his speech was the only one that wasn't about club activities or dead grandmas.

Gizmotech
July 9th, 2014, 20:23
See that's depressing. When I hear speeches which aren't sports club I go "well good for you kid" and then they never get past first stage because they weren't simple enough for the partially retarded judges.

webstaa
July 10th, 2014, 08:17
At least you aren't in Tohoku. All the speeches are 'The Earthquake was terrible, but we overcame it.'

I think the only school that didn't send 3/11 speeches was mine, and one of them was still about club activities (rehabbing a rotator cuff injury.)

Ini
July 10th, 2014, 08:20
they are children, what do you expect them to write about? They are hardly going to talk about how they found themselves spiritually while spending 12 months backpacking across india....

Future dreams
Family
Environment
Sports club

thats about all you are going to get....

Jiggit
July 10th, 2014, 08:23
Ini's been in Japan so long he thinks it's normal for a 17 year old to have nothing in their life but school and clubs.

therealwindycity
July 10th, 2014, 08:27
One year the winner in our prefecture (who had amazing pronunciation) talked about trying to understand the atrocities of World War II and how to overcome the diplomatic challenges they cause today.

Gizmotech
July 10th, 2014, 10:52
At least you aren't in Tohoku. All the speeches are 'The Earthquake was terrible, but we overcame it.'

I think the only school that didn't send 3/11 speeches was mine, and one of them was still about club activities (rehabbing a rotator cuff injury.)

I am in tohoku, but the speeches are seldomly just about that. That being said, there is always a dropped reference to it at some point in the speech.

webstaa
July 10th, 2014, 12:51
Last year 8/12 speeches were about it in my district. Although they should be dropping off pretty soon.

And its super easy to amaze Japanese teachers by making a CD with a recording of the speeches and a few tongue twisters for the students to practice with at home.

greyjoy
August 1st, 2014, 15:19
So I just got handed a few speeches to look at by my JTE. How heavy of a hand do you use in editing to make it colloquial. When I think about how even some very good Japanese speakers talk, they have a particular way of phrasing that is present: "At the time of parting" vs. "when she was leaving". I don't really want to get rid of some of these and put the speech entirely in my voice.

Suggestions?

Ini
August 1st, 2014, 15:36
In theory if it makes sense you should leave it but you get to the contest and is obvious that some alts have written all of the speech. Do whatever you like. After a few practices you will probably end up changing it a bit anyway. Keep the sentences short.

johnny
August 11th, 2014, 10:25
FWIW, I am a judge in a regional speech contest in my prefecture, and the winner we picked last year talked about making some awful sounding fermented food with her grandmother. It was an amazing speech. Her intonation was great and she *gasp* even used a lot of hand gestures. She went to the prefectural finals with that speech and I would be surprised if she didn't do very well in the prefectural contest too.

Her English is among the best I've heard in from a student in my prefecture, so that helped too.

Gizmotech
August 11th, 2014, 11:24
I'm having the problem right now where my kids are emotionless. I just can't get them to relax and be normal, they HAVE to do it like a formal Japanese ceremony. I can't get em to bring out natural gestures, body movement, or anything. What's worse, is the teacher who was working with the kids for the two weeks I was gone also ruined their natural intonation patterns by fixing half their consonants and not fixing any of their vowels for intonation or length.

I wish she had just done what I told her to do which was focus on their ability to memorize the words as is, and let me deal with their actual sound because now they sound horrible.

Jiggit
August 11th, 2014, 11:47
I just can't get them to relax and be normal, they HAVE to do it like a formal Japanese ceremony. I can't get em to bring out natural gestures, body movement, or anything.

Pretty sure they are doing what is normal for them.

Don't you remember everyone talking about how awesome this guy was: Presentation by Tokyo, Japan - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frLZeeU9760#t=902)

Gizmotech
August 11th, 2014, 12:00
Pretty sure they are doing what is normal for them.

Don't you remember everyone talking about how awesome this guy was: Presentation by Tokyo, Japan - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frLZeeU9760#t=902)

That dude has natural gestures for Japanese people, which is fine. These girls have better military posture than I did.

Jiggit
August 11th, 2014, 14:07
Those ain't natural for Japanese people, he's trying to ham up how international he is by doing gestures. The TV was going on about how sugei his gestures and English are for weeks.

greyjoy
August 12th, 2014, 01:53
I'm not even bothering trying to fix stereotypical Japanese sound confusion like r/l and shi/si. I figure if I can't roll my r's, what's it to me if a kid can't say Oasis instead of Oashis.

How many kids actually break these habits in the contests, though? Should I be trying at all to correct them?

johnny
August 12th, 2014, 08:56
I'm not even bothering trying to fix stereotypical Japanese sound confusion like r/l and shi/si. I figure if I can't roll my r's, what's it to me if a kid can't say Oasis instead of Oashis.

How many kids actually break these habits in the contests, though? Should I be trying at all to correct them?

I'm trying to focus on the easier pronunciation fixes, like making sure they pronounce their "TH" sounds and vowels correctly.

coop52
August 12th, 2014, 09:11
Make sure they aren't overcompensating by making all l/r's into r sounds or by overemphasizing vowels (don't really know any other way to describe that thing some Japanese people do where everything they say just sounds like a long string of vowels).

Get the kids to watch your mouth while you speak, then have them record themselves or practice in front of a mirror. It helps a lot if they can see how their mouths are actually moving.

For nervous kids, I bring in a bunch of stuffed animals to act as audience members. I place them in different areas to get the kids used to looking around the room rather than staring creepily in one fixed spot. Also, get them to look at the audience members' foreheads rather than straight into their eyes. It still gives the illusion of eye contact without the kids freaking out.

johnny
August 29th, 2014, 09:01
Make sure they aren't overcompensating by making all l/r's into r sounds or by overemphasizing vowels (don't really know any other way to describe that thing some Japanese people do where everything they say just sounds like a long string of vowels).

Get the kids to watch your mouth while you speak, then have them record themselves or practice in front of a mirror. It helps a lot if they can see how their mouths are actually moving.

For nervous kids, I bring in a bunch of stuffed animals to act as audience members. I place them in different areas to get the kids used to looking around the room rather than staring creepily in one fixed spot. Also, get them to look at the audience members' foreheads rather than straight into their eyes. It still gives the illusion of eye contact without the kids freaking out.

Thanks for the tips. I am taking a bigger role this year in getting the kids at one school ready for competition. I'll especially recommend that they practice in front of a mirror. I'll do the stuffed animal thing too.