IC English Speech Contest 2017

In the morning of last Friday, I believe I had a little glimpse of Japan’s future…

It was the 65th Ibaraki Christian English Speech Contest. In a busy yet rather smooth morning, many junior high school and high school students walked in with their teachers and parents. Indeed, there were many nervous faces. But, I could clearly see that they were ready to take up the challenge of speaking in front of a large crowd, using their second language. Of course, some were maximizing their final minutes to practice with their teachers to gain some extra confidence.

There were 5 events: Junior high school recitation, Junior high school and High school pronunciation, Junior high school speech, and High school presentation. As an “English-as-a-second-language” (ESL) learner myself, I could resonate with the challenge of overcoming the influence of our mother tongue, to pronounce English words accurately. I was particularly impressed with the high schoolers who did presentations. They’ve internalized their contents. Despite unexpected hiccups and interruptions, they were able to rise above the occasion and delivered their presentations with confidence.

This event was particularly valuable for us interns who were interested in Japanese culture. This was definitely not a social event where people from different schools meet and mingle. They were here to represent their schools, to compete. The formality, the atmosphere, the tension – these things might have recalled some of my high school memories in Hong Kong. Sorry for being a bit nostalgic. Three years in an American college probably has made these memories a little bit blurry…

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