The Art of Speaking – A Course that Created Winners at SPAF 2019!

J Carter Students at SPAF 2019

“You are all winners because you had the courage to perform in front of an audience!”

These were the words I uttered to our students before they went on stage to recite a poem, tell a story or shared their opinions in a speech. For many it was nerve-racking and yet fulfilling as the results of months of hard work were unveiling right before our eyes. Friends, family, teachers sat in the audience anxiously hoping that the performances will receive a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Gold Star Award. Our students did not disappoint. Everyone was amazing and everyone delivered as they should. I couldn’t be happier. There were a few tears of happiness when a Gold Star was awarded and a few tears of sadness when the award was not a Gold but everyone learned an important life lesson at the Singapore Performing Arts Festival – with hard work, determination and the willingness to face your fears, you can achieve wonders.

Preparation started in January 2019, when 25 students signed up for ‘The Art of Speaking’. This was a special course which I had designed to prepare students to perform in front of an adjudicator and an audience in a competitive arena. It involved different genres of speaking such as verse speaking, storytelling and impromptu speaking. These genres of speaking required spontaneity, maturity and a strong sense of personal voice. Besides that students had to develop the ability to speak in front of an audience. We had to incorporate different activities in the programme to encourage students to step out of their comfort zone and let their hair down. Some were naturally extroverted which made it easier for them while others had to be less self-conscious. Through it all, the experience produced speakers who dare to take the stage, to compete for excellence and be confident in their own shoes.

Storytelling Participants

During the two day festival, I was a nervous wreck. Although I had been teaching public speaking for more than 10 years, I was sending my students into categories that were new to us. In 2018, when I first fielded students for verse speaking, storytelling and impromptu speaking segments, we performed rather poorly, Our centre dominated the public speaking category but nothing else. We lost to the Malaysians who had a strong background in drama. The competitor in me could not take the defeat in silence. So I reflected and I pondered on how we could do better at SPAF 2019. Thus the Art of Speaking was born. With the help of one of my trainers, Ms Kat, we descended like vultures to hand pick students from the different grade levels in the Trinity College London Communication Skills Programe. We felt that we could coached the chosen ones to do well in the 3 genres we were aiming for. We coax them to sign up for The Art of Speaking and to participate in these 3 categories at SPAF 2019. After 3 months of hard work, Ms Kat and I sat in the audience with smiles plastered on our faces, last minute words of encouragements and fingers crossing. We were more nervous than our students! And they delivered! Some of our students walked away with Gold and Gold Star Awards! What was even more rewarding for me was when a teacher from a Malaysian team came up to me after the storytelling segment and told me that my students were outstanding storytellers! I was so elated yet humbled.

Our Courageous Students at SPAF 2019

These are the Gold and Gold Star Achievers for SPAF 2019:

ATHARV JOSHISTORYTELLINGPA – SOLO (6) 6-9YRS Gold Star
CAYLA LEE XIN ENSTORYTELLINGPA – SOLO (6) 6-9YRS Gold Star
ALISON KUO KIT YINGSTORYTELLINGP A – SOLO (7) 10-12YRS Gold Star
HENG YAN YA REISTORYTELLING PA – SOLO (6) 6-9YRS  GOLD
CHONG JIA QI EVANSTORYTELLING PA – SOLO (6) 6-9YRS  GOLD
GLORIA LEONG MINSTORYTELLING P A – SOLO (7) 10-12YRS  GOLD
CHOW LI TONGSTORYTELLING P A – SOLO (7) 10-12YRS  GOLD
ATHARV JOSHIVERSE SPEAKINGVERSE SPEAKING (15) 8-9YRS   Gold
CHEONG JIA QI EVANVERSE SPEAKINGVERSE SPEAKING (15) 8-9YRS   Gold
CAYLA LEE XIN ENVERSE SPEAKINGVERSE SPEAKING (15) 8-9YRS   Gold
CHAK EU JUENVERSE SPEAKINGVERSE SPEAKING (16) 10-11YRS   Gold
GLORIA LEONG MIN QIVERSE SPEAKINGVERSE SPEAKING (16) 10-11YRS   Gold
ELLA LOO YUNFEIIMPROMPTU SPEAKINGClass 21 (Age 8 – 9)Gold
CHLOE HUA (PAN JIAYU)IMPROMPTU SPEAKINGClass 22 (Age 10 – 11)Gold
CHOW LI TONGIMPROMPTU SPEAKINGClass 22 (Age 10 – 11)Gold
GLORIA LEONG MIN QIIMPROMPTU SPEAKINGClass 22 (Age 10 – 11)Gold
PRINAKA LALAIMPROMPTU SPEAKINGClass 22 (Age 10 – 11)Gold
RAPHAEL TAN YI YANGIMPROMPTU SPEAKINGClass 22 (Age 10 – 11)Gold
CHEONG HOH IAN REUBENIMPROMPTU SPEAKINGClass 24 (Age 14 – 16)Gold
KHUA KENG LI KENRICPUBLIC SPEAKINGSOLO (2) 10-11YRS Gold Star
ALISON KUO KIT YANG PUBLIC SPEAKING SOLO (2) 10-11YRS  Gold
ALISON LIM YI XUAN PUBLIC SPEAKING SOLO (2) 10-11YRS  Gold
JASMIN GAN JIE MIN PUBLIC SPEAKING SOLO (2) 10-11YRS  Gold
WONG BOXI PUBLIC SPEAKING SOLO (2) 10-11YRS  Gold
ANDREW JONATHAN LEEPUBLIC SPEAKINGSOLO (3) 12-13YRS Gold
CHEONG HOH IAN REUBENPUBLIC SPEAKINGSOLO (4) 14-16YRS Gold
CAYDEN CHONG MING XUAN PUBLIC SPEAKING SOLO (1) 8-9YRS  Gold
ELLA LOO YUNFEI PUBLIC SPEAKING SOLO (1) 8-9YRS  Gold
HAN YUSHAN JACINTHA PUBLIC SPEAKING SOLO (1) 8-9YRS  Gold
CHUA YI XUAN PUBLIC SPEAKING SOLO (1) 8-9YRS  Gold
LIM QI XUAN KADENCE CREATIVE WRITING11 (10-12 years)GOLD STAR
CHLOE HUA (PAN JIAYU)CREATIVE WRITING11 (10-12 years)GOLD STAR
CHLOE LIM SI ENCREATIVE WRITING11 (10-12 years)GOLD STAR
CAYLA LEE XIN ENCREATIVE WRITING 10 (6-9 years) GOLD
ALISON KUO KIT YINGCREATIVE WRITING 11 (10-12 years) GOLD
GLORIA LEONG MIN QICREATIVE WRITING 11 (10-12 years) GOLD
LEE RUI EN RIANNECREATIVE WRITING 11 (10-12 years) GOLD
TEH XIN NI CHARLOTTECREATIVE WRITING 11 (10-12 years) GOLD
CLAIRE LIM YI HUICREATIVE WRITING 12 (13-16 years) GOLD

We also had many students that achieved Silver and Bronze awards and I would like to say that I am just as proud of their effort and courage for participating and I hope they will try again in 2020. Kenric Khua is a good example. In 2018, he achieved a Silver for public speaking but he did not give up and came back even stronger in 2019 and earned the Gold Star Award which was the highest award given at the festival.

Kenric Khua – Gold Star in Public Speaking

I am now searching for the next group of students for SPAF 2020. If you would like your child to earn up to 5 International Certificates for Speaking over a 2 day Festival, don’t miss the chance to sign up for our Art of Speaking 6 day camp in November 2019 or 12 weeks programme in February 2020. We will get your child performance ready to do his/her best.

These achievements will not only build your child’s confidence and speaking abilities but also his/her portfolio for Direct School Admissions. We have the success strategies to get your child ready. Look out for my next blog post on DSA coming soon. Before I leave, let me share a video of Cayla Lee telling the story that won her the Gold Star Award at SPAF 2019. Enjoy!

Cayla Lee – Gold Star in Storytelling

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