Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Un festival oratoire

Les discours!  It is speech time at my school and my students are engaged in a flurry of activity over their speeches. Writing speeches in French can be a challenging endeavor for new French immersion or extended French students who may be writing a speech in French for the first time. The speech writing process took almost a full month to complete, from brainstorming topics, to rough copies, editing, good copies and practicing. My students wrote five paragraph speeches, with three main ideas that there supported by researched details as well as an introduction and conclusion. I came across this interesting site about speaking and presentation skills and it mentions "The rule of three". Powerful messages came be said using tios, triads or triplets. Take for example Julius Caesar's message "Veni, Vidi, Vichi" (I came, I saw, I conquered) or the French motto: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. The next time I write speeches with my French students, I will spend more class time teaching about good oral presentation techniques. It doesn't matter how well written a student's speech may be, if they rely too much on cue cards and do not connect with the audience their speech can become ineffective. It is important to have students practice their speeches in French using expression and focusing on their pronunciation and enunciation of new vocabulary words. Also, having a well-constructed rubric for marking speeches is key, since you do not want to be jotting down marks and comments while students are speaking. A rubric made marking my speeches easier because I circled the level the students are at and later went back to figure out their final mark.

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