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本文作者: 北京外国语大学教授 王家湘
All the judges really enjoyed this morning because you were really talented. Your singing, dancing, talk shows, whatever, we really enjoyed as audience. But as judges, sometimes, we were torn in how to give scores, because everybody is wonderful. But when we judge, we have some requirements, right? This is a talent show for English teachers. I think the requirement is that you have to show your talent and your talent has to tell how you can improve your teaching of English.

Therefore, while we enjoyed the beautiful songs or dances, we were thinking how would that help with the teaching of English in class. Of course we can say, if my students see my beautiful dance, it might help them to be very much interested in English. Yet it might not be the case. So I guess, when you saw the scores, you might think “Oh, he/she sang so beautifully. How come the score is not what we expected?” To tell the truth, that’s why I said we were torn. In terms of pure performance, we should give some contestants much higher scores. But in terms of teaching skills, the song or the dance itself didn’t tell us about your teaching skills. So the requirement is very clear. You have to show both your language teaching skills and your stage performance.

Some of the contestants really have been very creative in trying to improve the class and teaching with different sorts of methodology. When teaching in junior high school or primary school, we use teaching aids. When you use teaching aids, you have to think very carefully about the level of the students, right? That’s No.1. No.2 is the purpose of this particular class. What, when and how would I really achieve the purpose by using these devices. One good example is the teaching of “apple of one’s eye”. The teacher did so well because apples were what helped to explain this idea. She used a big apple half eaten and an apple which had fallen to demonstrate the meaning. So the students will be able to understand because her explanation was suitable for the comprehension of the students. Right? And also it was a very good idea to teach linking of sound. The idea of using a poem is very good, but does it achieve your teaching purpose? It doesn’t, because the poem is too difficult. So you’d better use some simpler lines to demonstrate, so that the students really understand what it means. We think the requirement for the talent show is to show your talent in terms of teaching English classes, right?

Now this is the 11th competition. Initially in the first few competitions, the judges were more lenient. If you sang a very good song, we would give you high scores. But this time, it was very clearly stated what would be required of you in the talent show. That is why if you only sing a song, you will discover that the scores are not very high. That is the reason. Therefore, it is very important to understand what is required of you and what is demanded of you in a competition.

In yesterday’s competition, I think some of the contestants were a little too hasty in your preparation for the speech. For instance, when your topic is “Should parents be legally responsible for children’s misbehavior?” And the contestant didn’t pay attention to the word “legally”“Responsible”, yes, but “legally responsible”? When the question was put to her, she said “yes, legally responsible, maybe the parents have to pay the fines”. So she still didn’t see that “legally responsible” and “responsible” were different.

One of the topics was “What’s your opinion about some middle school students having boyfriends or girlfriends?” The contestant started talking about having houses and having children, and that was why she didn’t think they should have boyfriends or girlfriends. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t necessarily mean you get married. If the question is “Should high school students get married”, maybe your reason would be OK. But if the question was only “Should boys and girls be boyfriends or girlfriends in high school”, that does not mean they should get married in high school. So your reasons—having houses, having children are not the reasons, right?

So next time, you just read carefully the instructions and the topics before you start answering the questions or making a speech. And try to understand every word clearly and correctly.

Another thing that we mention at this competition almost every time is that some of you still need to improve your pronunciation as teachers, especially rhythm and sentence stress. Some of you need to improve your vowels. It is still very important. I think that’s all I want to say. We really enjoyed it and thank you very much for your talent show performance.
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