Thursday, 1 October 2015

Grade 6 IHC extempore - elocution

Today I was a judge in our sixth grade during the inter house competition. It was such a wonderful experience for me I just felt compelled to share it. I don't teach grade 6, so it was even more interesting for me to listen to them. I felt I was totally unbiased as I had no pre-existing expectations of any kind. The primary section had the 'pick and speak' activity and the middle year classes engaged in the extempore speech. Just to clarify, extempore means 'spoken without any preparation'. For a lot of students it was a very new experience but I must say I was overjoyed when I judged the grade 6 along with Mr. Raju, as the students did exceptionally well. Not just the five students who qualified into the next round - Anshika, Astuti, Aryan, Anoushka and Harnoor, but many more were close in the scores and have shown great potential and enthusiasm and everyone tried their best. Only Sishir slipped through our fingers this time, but I just didn't want to be too pushy. I am sure his time will come. Next time, Sishir! 

We were ready with the topics the students could chose from and with the rubrics for fair judging. We were looking at 6 parameters: how the student started or introduced the topic, the quality of content, conclusion, confidence level, presentation, and how well they were able to capture the audience. The rubric was shared with students in advance so they knew very well what we were looking for. Some tips and example were also given as a warm up so we were all on the same page. Topics were very diverse and general and age appropriate. 

Have you ever tried speaking like that? Sure, for us, adults with tons of life experience it might be pretty easy or at least not hard but the students simply do not have the rich experience the years bring. Well, surprise, surprise! I thought they were brilliant!

The first one to impress me thoroughly was Anshika. Her topic was "The things we can see in the sky". In my mind I first thought of the night sky, stars and constellations but Anshika was practically unstoppable and so refreshingly confident and spoke about the clouds, their shapes, birds, unusual colours of the setting sun, rainbows. Too cute! As a conclusion she suggested that if we ever find ourselves bored and idle we can just go out and look up in the sky - there is always something interesting to see there.

Harnoor, I think it's safe to presume she is a dog lover, picked a topic 'Why dog is called man's best friend". Admittedly, I am a big dog lover as well, so I just loved the numerous points she mentioned to argue that they are indeed man's best friends. She was also very practical at times - mentioning that they can guard our property and valuables and keep us safe.

Astuti, literally took the stage by storm. Her topic "Health is wealth" was so beautifully presented I was left speechless. Mind you, students themselves also recognised and appreciated every single great attempt! The applause was loud and enthusiastic and rightly so. Incredibly lucid ideas and so thoughtfully put together as if she was preparing for this the whole weekend but she didn't. Extempore, remember?

Aryan spoke about the "Importance of the language". He was so convincing, active, captured the audience with ease, used crisp gestures. I could picture him as a CEO of some big company inspiring his team to do better, grow stronger and win. Yes, I have a great imagination but Aryan was just brilliant!

Last but not least, Anoushka our last qualifier to round up the group of students who impressed the most, picked a topic "A memorable trip" and she made some very interesting points oh how the trip doesn't need to be super fancy to be memorable as long as you are active and surrounded with the ones you love. She was confident and convincing. Another loud round of applause that was well deserved.

But my enthusiasm doesn't stop here. Not at all! Udbhav has done super well and has missed qualifying by a wee margin. I also want to mention Abhiram who was so reluctant to even start but then just had a wonderfully impressive start at telling us about his favourite cricket player Sachin Tendulkar. When he was on the verge to not do it at all he was encouraged by the entire class. I loved that! 

Running out of things to say was normal and no one should feel discouraged because of it but rather take on the challenge instead. Akshan, who started first wanted to have another go at it, as he felt he could do so much better but that wouldn't be fair at this stage - what we should consider and promise to students though is that we will make sure  they have many more such wonderful opportunities to speak.

I evidently enjoyed this session immensely and I would like to thank all the 6th graders who tried. I appreciated every single student who spoke! Bravo kids! 

Urska ma'am

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