The Public Speaking Competition

The aim of this competition is to equip young students with the skills of thinking clearly, speaking persuasively and listening to the opinions of others critically and constructively.
It enables young people to test and demonstrate their fluency in English.
The objectives of the Public Speaking Competition are three-fold, namely:
– To provide young people with practical experience in the fundamental skills of public speaking;
– To provide a focus for the learning of effective English and communication skills; and
– To give students the opportunity to meet, exchange views and form friendship within the global village.
Over the years, we have witnessed a growing interest in the Public Speaking Competition.

Insofar as Rodrigues is concerned, a separate competition is held every year. Members of the ESU actually travel to Rodrigues in order to hold the heats. The finalist from Rodrigues automatically takes part in the Finals held in Mauritius . He / She makes up the figure of 9 finalists as he / she travels to Mauritius and competes with the 8 Mauritian finalists.
In relation to the subject-matter of the speeches, the ESU has given schools and students the freedom to choose their themes. However, once students reach the Finals, it is mandatory that students adopt the theme chosen by ESU London. For 2010, the theme will be “Speculation of our future”.


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Rules of the Competition

Purpose

The Public Speaking Competition is run annually by the English-Speaking Union, to give young people practical experience in the fundamental skills of public speaking and to provide them with a focus for the learning of effective English and good communication skills.

Eligibility

The competition is open to secondary school students aged between 16 and 20 years,  i.e. not less than 16 years and not more than 20 years on 1st May of the competition year.  Participants must be in full-time education at the time of the competition.  They must be a citizen of Mauritius by birth or a Mauritian passport holder.

For Schools in Mauritius

The competition is mainly about the ability to speak in public.

The competition will be run in 3 stages:

(i) the heats (delivery of a prepared speech – free choice of subject) – The heats will consist of competitions which will be organised by school zones. One or more best speakers will, depending on the number of competitors in each zone, qualify to participate in the semi-final.

(ii) At the semi-final, participants will be required to deliver an impromptu speech from a list of 3 topics given 15 minutes in advance. They may pick whichever one of the three topics. Participants should aim to speak for two to three minutes and not more than 3 minutes 30 seconds. Participants will NOT receive questions on their impromptu speech. At the semi-final, all participants will be gathered in a “Waiting Room” by 10:00 a.m. at the latest on the day of the semi-finals. Late comers may not be able to take part in the competition. Each participant’s name will be chosen randomly and will be asked to move to a “Preparation Room” to prepare his speech. Eight speakers will qualify for the final. Where there are two speakers from a same school, only one of them may reach the final.

(iii) the final – Delivery of a prepared speech on the theme “The Wisdom of Youth”. A total of 9 speakers will compete in the final; eight selected from the semi-final on main island of Mauritius plus one selected from Rodrigues.The winner of the national final will participate in the International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC), organised by the ESU International Headquarters, in London, UK.

For Schools in Rodrigues

The competition in Rodrigues will run in 2 stages, on the same day, i.e. (i) the heats and (ii) the semi-finals. There will be a short break for lunch in between the heats and the semi-finals. The winner for Rodrigues will join the 8 Mauritian Finalists and take part in the Finals to be held in Mauritius.

(i) Heats – Delivery of a prepared speech – free choice of subject: Two participants from each of the five schools in Rodrigues will be invited to take part in the competition. A panel of judges will select 4 best speakers.

(ii) Semi-Final : The 4 best speakers be required to deliver an impromptu speech from a list of topics given 15 minutes in advance. They may pick whichever one of the three topics. They should aim to speak for two to three minutes and not more than 3 minutes 30 seconds. They will not receive questions on their impromptu speech. The semi-finalists will be gathered in a “Waiting Room” and each participant’s name will be chosen randomly and will be asked to move to a “Preparation Room” to prepare his speech.

(iii) Final – Delivery of a prepared speech on the theme “The Wisdom of Youth”: The winner for Rodrigues will take part in the Finals to be held in Mauritius.

4. CHOICE OF SUBJECT :

(i) For the heats in Mauritius and in Rodrigues, Speakers have free choice of subject.

(ii)For the semi-finals in Mauritius and in Rodrigues, the participants will prepare 15 minutes to prepare a 3-minute speech from a list of three topics given at the start of the 15 minutes preparation period and will be able to pick whichever one of those three topics they wish.

(iii) For the Finals, Speakers will be asked to speak on a topic related to the theme “The Wisdom of Youth”.

In choosing their topic, Speakers should not be afraid to be provocative, hard-hitting or humorous, as long as their intention is constructive and the speech is not offensive to other parties. However, Speakers must avoid speeches which are likely to be perceived as doctrinal or political and should NOT use gimmicks.

Our National Winner who will represent Mauritius at the 2012 International Public Speaking Competition will have to choose a speech related to the theme “The Head or the Heart”.

5. QUESTION TIME : Heats & Final : Each speech will be followed by questions from the adjudication panel and members of the audience. Each participant will normally be asked two questions from the adjudication panel and two questions from members of the audience. Question time will not last more than 3 to 4 minutes. It is the responsibility of the Judges or the MC to ask questions if none is received from the audience.

Questions will not be allowed from pupils and teachers coming from the same school as the speaker: Questioners from the audience may have to give the name of their school before asking a question.

Questions must be answered briefly and to the point.

Semi-Finals : Participants will not receive questions on their impromptu speech.

6. TIMING (Pls read carefully as the rules concerning timing have changed) : Heats & Final : Each Speaker will be allocated 5 minutes. Marks will be deducted for speeches which last less than 4 min 30 seconds or more than 5 min 30 sec. Therefore, the Timekeeper will give an audible signal for the Speaker to start and then at 4 min 30 sec (4’30”) (to indicate that 30 seconds remain), at 5 min (5’) (to indicated that the time is up) and 5 min 30 sec (5’30”) (at which point the participant must conclude his immediately).

Sem-Finals : Each Speaker should aim to speak for two to three minutes and not more than 3 minutes 30 seconds. The timekeeper will record the lengths of the speech and give these to the adjudicators. The timekeeper will give an audible signal after 2 minutes, 3 minutes and 3 minutes 30. He will be asked to finish his speech at 3 minutes 30.

7. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS :

(i) Heats and Finals : The order in which participants speak will be determined before each competition by drawing of lots.

(ii) Semi-Finals – Speakers can speak for or against the topic. During the 15 minutes preparation period, speakers will not have the time to engage in the same level of detailed brainstorming or research as their prepared speech. They should make notes for reference during their speech. They should focus on having a good introduction (30 seconds approx) and conclusion (30 seconds approx) and they should think about one or two main points for the main section of their speech (2 minutes approx).

The Speaker will stand either on a stage or in front of the room. The use of a lectern, microphone or visual aid is not allowed. A palm size Prompt/Cue card (4″x4″ max) with leading points is permitted. The Speaker must not read his speech.

The Judges’ panel will be seated approximately mid-way of the room with the audience and face the Speaker. The panel will consist of 3 judges, one of whom may be the Chairman.

The MC, who may also act as the timekeeper, will introduce each Speaker by giving his name, school and title of speech. After the Speaker has delivered his speech, for the heats & finals, the MC will invite questions from the audience and or the judging panel.

8. ALLOCATION OF MARKS :

Marks will be allocated as particularised below:

Substance 20 marks

Style and Technique 15 marks

Questions 5 marks

General Effectiveness 10 marks

TOTAL 50 marks

Marks are for the Judges’ use only and the Judges will not be asked to announce them. The Judges’ decision is FINAL. Marks for the Semi-Finals will exclude the 5 marks normally allocated to Questions.

Substance: (Clarity, structure, focus, development, exposition, knowledge of subject and balance)

Irrelevance should be penalised, whereas carefully selected and relevant evidence will be rewarded.

The speech should hold the audience’s attention and be clearly structured.

It should be evident from a speech that the Speaker has carefully considered the topic. The Speaker should demonstrate an understanding of the issues involved and develop them in a logical and balanced speech.

Weak or frivolous interpretations are likely to be unsuccessful.

Style and Technique: (Delivery, posture, eye contact, use of gestures and voice modulation)

Speakers should take care to craft their oral presentation. In particular appropriate volume and tone of voice, pitch and pauses should be used, as well as appropriate eye-contact and gesture.

Verbal technique: Speakers should be able to express themselves clearly and confidently, paying careful attention to the effective use of language and rhetorical devices such as metaphor and analogy.

The essential aim of the Speakers should be to develop a rapport with the audience. Unnecessary movement and histrionics will earn no extra marks. A poised manner is recommended.

Over reliance on notes and particularly reading will be penalised.

Questions: (Ability to deal with questions concisely and effectively)

Evidence of anticipation of questions will be rewarded.

Speakers should not try to monopolise the question period so as to avoid answering further questions.

Speakers should be able to understand and deal confidently with questions, answering them succinctly and relevantly and not to engage in a debate.

General Effectiveness: (Ability to communicate thought and emotion and to achieve the overall objectives of the speech)

It is important that the speech holds the audience’s attention and that it is clearly structured.

A natural style that is not overprepared or rehearsed should be rewarded, as should spontaneous comments that are relevant to the situation.

Good Speakers will build an appropriate relationship with the audience.

The effective use of words to express humour or emotion should be rewarded.

9. PRIZES

Final: First Prize: The winner of the Public Speaking Competition will be able to represent

Mauritius at the ESU International Public Speaking Competition in London, U.K. The winner will spend about 5 days in London with participants coming from all corners of the world. The return airfare Mauritius-London-Mauritius and accommodation are included in the prize.

Runner-up

Consolation prizes


Past Winners

Winner : Muhammad Nabil Khodabaccus of Royal College Curepipe
Runner-Up : Medha Shreena Maistry of Sodnac State Secondary School

Yannish Dyall – College du St Esprit

WINNER Name:     Subadra GHOORUN
  School:    Dr  Maurice Cure State College
1st RUNNER-UP Name:    Olivier LENOIR
  School:   Lycee Des mascareignes
2nd RUNNER-UP Name:     Grace Pearlyn CHAN TOO
  School:    Loreto College Port Louis

The International Public Speaking Competition will be held in London from 17 th to 21 st May 2010 . .

In 2009, a total of 49 schools took part in the Public Speaking Competition. These comprised 44 schools in Mauritius and 5 schools in Rodrigues. In 2010 , 67 schools in Mauritius , as well as the 5 schools in Rodrigues, took part in this competition.
As regards students’ participation, this year, a total of 102 students took part in the heats (as opposed to 70 in 2009). As the competition progressed, 9 students reached the Finals. We cannot be certain as regards the number of students in the individual schools who actually compete being given that each school is responsible for organising its own heats internally. On a purely indicative level, we believe that there is a minimum of 250 students nationally who are involved in Mauritius .

In 2009, Mr Sebastien Ng Kuet Leong’s success at the International Public Speaking Competition has boosted the appeal and relevance of the National Public-Speaking Competition organised by the ESU. This was the very first time a Mauritian has won this prestigious International competition. It was widely acclaimed as a matter of national pride and in the field of education with particular emphasis on the use of the English language in Mauritius . During the Annual Dinner of the ESU that was held in July 2009, the President of the Republic described Mr Ng Kuet Leong’s performance as an “outstanding success that has brought pride to our country. You are today the pride, not only for your parents, teachers and classmates but also for the whole nation” . The ESU President, Ms. Sharmilla Bhima , declared that Mr Ng Kuet Leong had become “the role model of the youth of today”.

The ESU is confident that Mr Ng Kuet Leong’s success has motivated more students to come forward and participate in the National Public Speaking Competition organised by the ESU.


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