Amman school holds speaking competition

(Photo: Freepik)
(Photo: Freepik)
AMMAN — An Amman school this week held a two-day virtual public speaking competition. Students of fifth to eighth grade were tasked with convincing a panel of three university professors of their arguments.اضافة اعلان

Organized by Al Hasaad Al Tarbawi Schools, the “Ted Talkathon” as the competition is called, provides students with a platform to practice their skills of public speaking and persuasion. The event was organized and moderated by Safaa Farghal and included a panel of three judges: Heba Abu Mughli, Mais Alqutami, and Samah Meqdadi.

The goal, according to Farghal, the head of the school’s English department, was to allow the students to express their opinions and put their persuasive abilities to the test. And the goal was met. 

“I was mesmerized. I was touched. And I believe we all learned something (during) these two days,” she said in an interview with Jordan News.

The students were given the freedom to choose their topics in order to deliver them in a convincing manner. They covered a variety of issues including the dangers of junk food, the importance of time management, the essence of Islam, how to overcome fears, and the secrets to success.

The students were evaluated on their oral performance through specific criteria that focused on content, confidence, timing, and mode of delivery. Nonetheless, the panel emphasized that even though it is a competition, all students are winners.

Farghal told Jordan News that she was a bit concerned about holding the event online but the staff and students were able to make it work. “It was very entertaining and very beneficial,” she said.

“I had some fears at the beginning. Last year we had the kids on stage and there was an audience. When you have human communication, it is completely different than having virtual communication. But, thank god, the event turned out great because of the collaboration and communication between the students and the teachers,” Farghal added.

Abu Mughli, a professor of English, said that “the topics were carefully selected and the performance of most of the students was really perfect.” She added that “they can be model students that may encourage college students.”

Alqutami, who teaches at the Applied Science Private University, described the event as “a huge success.” She added that the level of the seventh and eighth graders is equal to, if not better than, the level of college students with regards to public speaking

She also said that she finds events like this to be very valuable and that they should be organized at universities as well.

“This is a skill they can apply in real life. It’s beyond grading and the material they learn at school. This is something they could really use in job interviews: the skills and the confidence. This is what lifelong learning is,” Alqutami told Jordan News.

Meqdadi, also a lecturer at the Applied Science Private University, expressed her satisfaction with the students and their performances. She echoed her fellow judges’ comments, saying that the contestants “reached the level of university students.”

She added that “Throughout the two days, we listened to brilliant students. They are creative and I believe each one of them left an impression.”

The students also provided positive feedback on the event. One student said that he learned “to be confident and not to be scared.” 

Another student told Jordan News that the experience was interesting and that she found the topics quite helpful. She added, “I learned that stress can lead to good results.”

Another participant expressed the importance of body language in reflecting the speaker’s personality. She also learned that with willpower, confidence, and motivation, one can present something to be proud of. 

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