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Ministry of Education


National Library Board


Speak Good English Movement

INTRODUCTION
YMCA Plain English Speaking Awards 2011 is a programme organised by YMCA of Singapore, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the National Library Board and Speak Good English Movement.

“Plain English” refers to the use of English that is simple and easily understood in terms of content and presentation. It involves the use of appropriate words to ensure that the speech is clear and concise in order that the audience understands it clearly.  There will be 2 compulsory components for the competition - Prepared Speech and Impromptu Speech.


OBJECTIVES

  1. To provide an avenue for students to sharpen their speaking skills and to build confidence in public presentation.
  2. To promote public speaking in plain English as an important communication skill.
  3. To provide an opportunity for students to learn by observing proficient speakers.


PARTICIPATION CRITERIA

  1. Participants must be from Secondary Schools, Junior Colleges, the Centralised Institute, Institutes of Technical Education, Polytechnics or Private Institutions.
    * Secondary School-age students will compete in a separate category from the JC/CI/ITE/Poly Category.
  2. Each school will be allowed to send in ONE representative per category, where applicable.  Schools are strongly encouraged to conduct a school-based competition using the format of the YMCA PESA competition in selecting their representative.
  3. Past champions are NOT allowed to participate, unless they are competing in a new category.


COMPETITION SYSTEM
*In the event of overwhelming responses, there may be changes to the numbers.

For the Secondary School Category

  • The preliminary rounds of the competition may take place over *4 days.
  • Schools will be assigned dates for the preliminary rounds and will be informed of the dates for the competition rounds.
  • *16 contestants with the highest scores, from the *4 preliminary rounds will be selected to proceed to the semi-finals.
  • *8 contestants from the semi-finals will be selected to proceed to the Finals.

The competition structure is as follows:

For each of the Preliminary Rounds

  • All contestants will present their prepared speeches.
  • *16 contestants with the highest scores will proceed to the Semi-Finals.
  • Schools will be notified of the result after the last Preliminary round, via email.

For the Semi - Finals

  • All *16 contestants will present their prepared and impromptu speeches.
  • Contestants can choose to repeat the same speech as that used in the Preliminary round or choose to tell a new speech.
  • Based on the combined scores of the prepared and impromptu speeches of these 16 participants, the *8 contestants with the highest scores will proceed to the Finals.
  • Semi-Finalists are to stay till the end for the announcement of the results.

For the Finals

    ~ Prepared Speech – Experiential Learning

    • All *8 contestants are required to visit residents staying in 1-room flats
    • Contestants will be accompanied by volunteers from YMCA of Singapore
    • Details of the trip will be provided at a later date
    • Contestants are required to craft their speeches, based on their experience during the visit

     

    ~ Impromptu Speech

    • All contestants will present their Impromptu Speeches (conducted in the same way as Semi-Finals)
    • Based on the combined scores of the Prepared and Impromptu Speeches, the top 3 award winners will be selected.
    • Finalists are advised to remain till the end of the competition, to listen to the announcement of the results.

For the JC/CI/ITE/PolyCategory

  • The preliminary rounds of the competition may take place over *2 days.
  • Schools will be assigned dates for the preliminary rounds and will be informed of the dates for the competition rounds.
  • *16 contestants with the highest scores, from the 2 preliminary rounds will be selected to proceed to the Semi-finals.
  • *8 contestants from the Semi-final will be selected to proceed to the Finals.

The competition structure is as follows:
During the Preliminary Round:

  • All contestants will present their prepared speeches.
  • *16 contestants with the highest scores will proceed to the Semi – Finals.
  • Schools will be notified of the result after the last Preliminary round, via email.

For the Semi - Finals

  • All *16 contestants will present their Prepared and Impromptu speeches.
  • Contestants can choose to repeat speeches used in the Preliminary Rounds or prepare a brand new one.
  • Based on the combined scores of the Prepared and Impromptu speeches of these 16 participants, *8 contestants with the highest scores will proceed to the Finals.
  • Semi-Finalists are advised to remain till the end of the competition, to listen to the announcement of the results.

For the Finals

  • ~ Prepared Speech – Experiential Learning

    • All *8 contestants are required to visit residents staying in 1-room flats
    • Contestants will be accompanied by volunteers from YMCA of Singapore
    • Details of the trip will be provided at a later date
    • Contestants are required to craft their speeches, based on their experience during the visit

     

    ~ Impromptu Speech

    • All contestants will present their Impromptu Speeches (conducted in the same way as Semi-Finals)
    • Based on the combined scores of the Prepared and Impromptu Speeches, the top 3 award winners will be selected.
    • Finalists are advised to remain till the end of the competition, to listen to the announcement of the results.

GENERAL RULES OF PESA
I) General Procedure

  1. Photography & Videography from any member of the audience is STRICTLY NOT allowed.
  2. Contestants will be seated according to their turns.
  3. The emcee will introduce each contestant by announcing the contestant’s name, school and title of their speech.
  4. Any contestant who is not present at his/her turn will be disqualified.
  5. Contestants are to stand at the designated area on the stage and are not allowed to leave the stage until they have completed their speeches.
  6. Contestants can choose to use either a clip-on microphone or a wireless handheld microphone during the competition.
  7. There will be a 30-second break after each speech to allow the judges to grade the presentation.
  8. Contestants must remain in their seats after their turns throughout the duration of the contest.
  9. Contestants and members of the audience are advised to remain silent throughout the competition to avoid distracting the speaker on stage and judges at work.
  10. Contestants and members of the audience are NOT allowed to communicate with the judges and timekeepers during the competition.

II) Selection of Judges

Judges will be selected by the organising committee.  A minimum of 3 judges will preside during each round of the competition.  The names of the judges will not be divulged before the contest.

III) Protests

1          Protests from the audience must be directed to the Secretariat, who will then forward them to the Chief Judge, prior to the announcement of the results.
2          Protests raised after the announcement of results will not be entertained.
3          The decision of the judges is final.

IV) Judging Criteria

  • Language (40%)

Contestants are expected to use Standard English, appropriate vocabulary and stylistic devices to convey meaning.  Contestants’ speeches must be clear and easily understood. 

  • Content (30%)

It must be original, well-thought through and able to engage the audience. 

  • Presentation (30%)

Contestants must be able to speak with conviction and confidence.  They may use natural body language and facial expressions.  Words must be clearly articulated with suitable intonation and pitch.

A) PREPARED SPEECH

I ) Speech Topics & Preparation

  1. Contestants will select their topics for the Prepared speech in advance.
  2. Contestants must prepare their own original speeches.  References to sources used in the preparation must be cited during the delivery of the speech.
  3. Contestants are not allowed to use past years’ scripts for their speeches.

Contestants are required to submit a copy of their scripts to the Secretariat, at least 1 week before the Preliminary Rounds / Finals.  (Pls see change)

II) Timing of Speeches

For Preliminary Rounds, Semi-Finals & Finals [3 to 5.5 minutes]
Every contestant is required to speak for a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 5 minutes 30 seconds.  Any contestant who fails to adhere to the time limit will be *penalized/disqualified.  
(*Disqualification of contestants applies only during Preliminary Rounds)

 The procedure will be as follows:

  • Timing will begin with the first word uttered by the contestant.
  • The green light will be turned on after 3 minutes and remain on for 1 minute.
  • The amber light will be turned on after 4 minutes and remain on for 1 minute.
  • The red light will be turned on after 5 minutes to warn the contestant to conclude the story in 30 seconds. The red light will remain on until the story has ended.

III) Topics of Prepared Speech

Contestants of both Categories may use the following suggested topics for the Prepared Speech component: 

  • Reality TV is Unreal?
  • I Can’t Live Without Facebook
  • Are Domestic Helpers Spoiling Us?
  • What I Want To Say to My Father / Mother?
  • Disaster in Japan (March 2011) – My Reflections

Contestants may choose a topic of their own, if they do not wish to use the suggested topics given above.

B) IMPROMPTU SPEECH
I ) Objectives

    1          To provide students with a platform to showcase their creativity by preparing a speech, for a given title, within a limited period of time.
    2          To provide students with an opportunity to deliver an impromptu speech with confidence, coherence and clarity. 

II) Speech Topic & Preparation

  1. 1          Topics for the competition will be decided by the organizing committee and will be kept strictly confidential. 
    2          Contestants are expected to deliver convincing arguments and to display sound knowledge of the chosen topics.
    3          At the start of the Impromptu Speech component, all contestants will be led to a holding area.  Each contestant will be taken into a room, where he / she will be given *3 envelopes labeled with specific themes.  Contestants will have to select One envelope and a topic from within.  Contestants will then be given about 2 minutes to prepare their speeches, before being led to the stage.
    4          A 30-second interval will be given after each speech to allow judges to grade the presentations.
    5          Contestants will speak from the same designated area on the stage.
    6          Contestants will be seated according to their order of participation.
    7          Contestants will return to their seats after their presentations.
    8          Contestants are advised to refrain from re-introducing themselves when on stage.  (The Emcee would introduce the contestants and their topics.)  They should begin their speeches immediately. 
    9          Contestants can write short notes in the room while preparing their speeches. However, they are not allowed to refer to their notes when on stage.
    10        Contestants must remain in their seats after their turns throughout the competition.

III) Timing of the Speeches
For Semi-Finals & Finals [2 to 3.5 minutes]

  1. Every contestant is required to speak for a minimum of 2 minutes and a maximum of 3.5 minutes.  Any contestant who fails to adhere to the time limits will be penalised.  The procedure will be as follows:
    • Timing will begin with the first word uttered by the contestant.
    • The green light will be turned on after 2 minutes and remain on for 30 seconds.
    • The amber light will be turned on after 2 minutes 30 seconds and remain on for 30 seconds.
    • The red light will be turned on after 3 minutes to warn the contestant to conclude the story in 30 seconds. The red light will remain on until the story has ended.
    • Note: Do NOT conclude your speech before the green light comes on!

  2. In the event of any technical failure of the signal, the contestant will be allowed a grace period of 30 seconds.

C) THE AWARDS

The National winners from the Pre-School category, Lower and Upper Primary categories, Secondary category and Junior College / Centralised Institution / ITE / Polytechnic category will receive the YMCA Plain English Speaking Awards trophy and other prizes from the sponsors.

All participants will also be given a chance to be considered for an Honor Roll, based on the following criteria.
Category Criterion
Gold 91 - 100
Silver 81 - 90
Bronze 71 - 80

Participants who are selected to enter Semi-Finals or Finals will be awarded based on their best score.


D) HOW TO REGISTER

Registration Fees

Early Bird Rate (5th to 18th May 2011)

SGD $50 / school

Normal Rate (19th May to 3rd June 2011)

SGD $80 / school

  1. Complete the enclosed Registration Form (remember to attach a recent passport-sized photo).
  2. If you are paying by cheque, please make the cheque payable to ‘YMCA of Singapore’). Indicate on the back of the cheque “Registration Fee for 25th YMCA PESA”.
  3. Send the registration form and cheque to the following address, before 3 June 2011 (Friday), 5pm:
  4. 25th YMCA PESA Secretariat
    YMCA of Singapore
    One Orchard Road
    Singapore 238824
  5. Please note that fees due to YMCA of Singapore are non-refundable, except in the case where the competition is cancelled. 


 
 
 
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