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The perfect speech test

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Jim Solomon
Tokyo, Japan
I teach first, second and third year high school kids at a private school in Japan. They are a tough bunch so instead of teaching them useful English I end up playing a lot of games. This is fine until report card time comes around. I need something more than Jeopardy scores to officially evaluate them so I have this speech test I invented that involves the entire class in speaking, active listening and writing. He is what I do. I write in advance and hand out a simple five to ten line speech the students are instructed to memorize with themes such as "My Favorite Restaurant" or "My Hometown" or "Me". It must be about an individual's individual experience. I leave blank places for answers only the speaker knows,i.e., "My favorite restaurant is _____. I always order _____. It costs ____." etc. Meanwhile,the rest of the class has a worksheet I made up in advance that has spaces to write the speaker's name and his or her "favorite restaurant," what he or she "always orders," and what it "costs," etc. While the speaker speaks the rest of the class writes. The students are warned they may not have any blank spaces in their "answer sheet.". After all this is a test. But naturally they miss some of the speaker's answers so each speaker ends their speech with "Any questions?" Students raise their hands and ask the speaker "What do you always order?" or "How much does it cost?" The most usesful question is, "How do you spell____?" My students are beginners so I make a list of these questions at the bottom of the speech paper. The test is fun. The students get some good laughs from their classmates's answers. I stand in the back of the room doing nothing except calling up the next speaker. The class runs itself. I evaluate them based on a scale from one to ten. If they memorize the speech and deliver it well they get a nine or ten. Many kids often read theirs and get a only six or seven. When all the speakers are done I collect the answer sheets and when no one is looking I throw them away. For advanced students you may change the tense, make the speech longer and have a deeper theme. This is the best lesson plan I have ever made up. I uses it three times a year. I hope you find it useful too. Write and tell me if you need more info or whether you like it or not.

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