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    Telling Stories That Matter

    School News

    29 Mar, 2022

    10 : 00

    • In November of this academic year, the YCYW Organisation introduced a Speech Competition to help students develop their skills in spoken English and build their confidence in expressing themselves orally. All students in Years 1 - 13 will go through several rounds of presenting their speeches and the competition is set to conclude in May with an awards ceremony. 

      At the early childhood level, the co-teaching method and Learn Through Play philosophy allow students to explore English and Chinese in an immersive setting and to build a foundation for subsequent language learning.   

      When children reach Primary (Years 1 – 6) at YCIS, they encounter three approaches to language learning: language skills, learning through language and learning about language. Students embark on learning phonics, decoding skills, and comprehension of fiction and non-fiction texts. We examine language structures through authentic, personal, and familiar topics. As students progress as English learners, they develop a broader range of skills, use reading as a way to understand and write with a greater awareness of their audience and purpose. Students will present ideas and opinions supported by evidence and explanations and combine reading, writing, and speaking skills to engage with language and literature. 

      The English Programme in Secondary aims for learners to develop the ability to communicate effectively, accurately, and effectively in both speech and writing. They learn how to employ a wide-ranging vocabulary, use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, develop a personal style, and further hone in on an awareness of their audience. Students are encouraged to read widely for their enjoyment and to further their experience of how English can be used. Students are also developing greater analytical and communication skills such as synthesis, inference, and the ability to order facts and present opinions effectively.

      In our Speech Competition, students wrote their speeches based on topics previously learned in class and created an opportunity to demonstrate understanding from units of inquiry or project-based learning and concept-driven questions posed to or by students. Two umbrella categories, Original Stories, challenged students to communicate their own experiences clearly, and Retelling Stories, pushed them to think about a message they connect to and would like to share with their peers. Students spoke on topics of a family migration journey from China to Canada and back, the entrepreneurial spirit of a yoghurt mogul, learning the value of money through a misplaced library book, among others.   

      Storytelling is a fundamental element of human nature. In English Language and Literature classes, we celebrate students' imaginations by giving them a plethora of storytelling opportunities. “Watching our students speak in front of their peers and larger audiences is one of the joys of an English teacher. Practising this helps build confidence and leads to a greater desire to share ideas,” says YCIS Pudong Head of Department English, EAL, and Social Sciences Ms Glenda Perks. She adds, “this skill is one we need to navigate the world around us, as students and then adults.”  

      "Public speaking is typically one of the most common fears that young people have, regardless of culture and country. The apprehension is usually about making a mistake or freezing on stage. By developing the confidence in students to share their stories from ECE through to IB, co-teachers help chip away at the anxiety and assist students in becoming confident leaders within the community,” says YCIS Puxi Head of English Mr Matthew Jarrett. 

      YCIS emphasises English language learning to ensure a solid foundation and the ability to excel as native-level speakers in both languages. Language classes teach us to connect with a culture, think critically, evaluate what we see, read, and hear to understand both the surface and hidden meanings. This ability is essential for empathising and interacting with people and ideas in a dynamic global society. It also allows students to access and negotiate the ever-growing body of knowledge the world has to offer. Combining these skills allows our students to become active participants and contributors to positive change. 

      The first round of the Speech Competition was held by individual schools. Speeches were judged based on a standardised rubric and each year level class held their first rounds of speeches in their respective classrooms, with finalists chosen per year level for the second round. With the support of external guest judges, an overall winner will be selected for each age category within each Division.