Thursday, 7 July 2016

Natalie won 3rd prize in the SPEAK Competition!!!

Natalie won 3rd prize in the SPEAK Competition!!!

We were really excited when Natalie won 3rd prize in the Primary 3 Level SPEAK Competition. The SPEAK competition is actually an opportunity for the children to make a speech in front of an audience. About 5 children are selected from each class to audition for the finals. For the audition, each child has to come up with a one minute speech on the topic have they chosen. Eventually,  6 finalists will on stage and make a 3 minutes speech in front of the whole Primary 3 level cohort. 

This was such a great opportunity for Natalie to practice public speaking skills and also to raise her confidence. We never expected Natalie to want to participate, much less win a prize. Anyway, when Natalie told us that she volunteered to go for audition, we respected her decision and encouraged her. 

For the audition, Natalie chose the topic on "What it would be like if I were a superhero" (out of the several options).  

Here is what we have learnt from this competition:

Working on the content - Always have the target audience in mind. 
Natalie spent a long time working on the content of her speech. In fact, for the one minute speech, she only managed to write it out after a day. She considered making a speech on the conventional superheroes such as Superman or Batman. But later, she realized that there is really nothing much that can arouse the interest of her audience. So yes, she realized that she has to share on something out of the norm that her target audience would be interested in. Naturally, she came up with a content that would catch the attention of the teachers viewing her audition video. Her main objective is to share about what's happening in the world with her audience.

Here is a one minute speech: 

"Morning judges. My name is Natalie Ng and I am from class 3X. 

Today, I would like to share with you what it would be like if I were a superhero.

Do you know that
·        Over 10 million people die of starvation every year around the world?
·        Just in India alone, over 7000 people die of hunger every day.
·        3000 of them are children just like you and me.

There are many other natural disasters that happen too.

·        Just last year, there was a great earthquake in Nepal that killed over 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000.
·        Also, the flood in India in Nov last year killed 500 people and 1.8 million people were displaced.

So, if I were a superhero, I would like to fly and at the same time, have water and earth bending powers. This means that I can control water and earth at my will. In this way, I would be able make crops grow in the soil as food for starving people. Also, with these powers, I can divert the water from the people and prevent flooding.

With earth bending powers, I can delay earthquakes to give people enough time to evacuate.
While I do not have these powers in reality, we can still help people who suffer from hunger and natural disasters. Whether or not we have the strength of a super being or a 9 year old, we can make the world a better place in our own little ways. We can all be superheroes in this way."

Of course, I vetted her script and helped to improve on it. But the idea of using facts and mixing it with a little of her imagination is by Natalie. 

Practice, Practice, Practice
Having a shorter script allowed her to deliver her speech in a comfortable pace. 

Writing a speech and delivering it is very different. Hence, reading it aloud helps a lot. As you can see, her script is very "untidy". There are big spacing in between sentences and some are even in bullet points. Well, this helps Natalie to remember her pauses, when to emphasize certain points or bring up her voice. 

Practicing is also important as the original script was actually much longer. She had to rush through to keep it within a minute. Hence, we had to cut the script until 45 seconds. We had to factor in the fact that Natalie would be anxious and hence, may pause more often during the actual audition. With a shorter script, she would be able to deliver her speech in a comfortable pace. We wanted to ensure that she didn't have to rush through and can deliver her content clearly. 

As she practice, we video it so that she can look at her own body gestures and listen to her own voice. We pick on certain points and got her to practice again, focusing on the points that she must improve on. For example, when she cannot remember her script, she will always say "uh....uh...". Hence, I reminded her that she doesn't need to memorize her script strictly and that if she forgets, just say the point in her own words. 

Getting into the Finals

Natalie was very excited to get into the finals. But, she was also worried at the same time. She had never spoken on stage in front of so many people. Moreover, she had to make a 3 minutes speech. This time, she chose "a book that she would love to write" as her topic. Hence, she decided that she would write about mystery and crime - a topic that she is genuinely interested in. Her main objective here is to share her knowledge of forensic science to inspire her friends to learn more about science. 

Here is her 3 minutes script for the finals:

"Good morning Mdm Law, teachers and friends. My name is Natalie Ng and I am from class 3X. Today, I would like to share with you about a book that I would love to write.
Before deciding on the topic, I did a quick survey with my classmates and many of them said that they love to read about mysteries. So, if I were to write a book, it would be about mystery and crime.
I am very excited to share my knowledge of forensic science to inspire my friends to learn more about science.
Do you know that Singapore has several unsolved crimes?
One of the biggest unsolved crimes is about 2 boys who went missing in 1986. This is one of Singapore's most mysterious case to date.
This case involved two primary school boys who simply vanished without a single trace near school at noon. Their books and bags were found under a tree, but not a single person knew where the boys have gone.

Despite the police search which extended to Malaysia and Indonesia, the boys were never found. 

So if I were to write a book, it would be about this case but set today where forensic science and modern technology would be used to solve the crime.  

In my book, the security camera footage of the school will be used to look for suspicious characters.

The reader will also find a set of footprints and a cigarette butt next to the boys’ bags under the trees.

The forensic scientists will then be called in to collect the evidence. Through the footprint, the forensic scientist would be able to estimate the height of the suspect. Also, with the cigarette butt, they would be able to find DNA.

If only these scientific methods were available in the 1980s, the 2 boys may have been found.   

To date, nobody knows the exact truth of this unsolved mystery.

Hopefully, my story will remind my readers to be aware of their surroundings and strangers.

I also hope to inspire some of my readers to study forensic science.
So remember, if you are in danger, stay calm, think and leave some clues for us to find. " 

Just to summarize our learning here: 

Working on the content
  • Always have the target audience in mind. 
  • Who is going to listen to you? 
  • What will they be interested in?
  • How can I make the content more interesting and out of the norm? 
  • Main objective: Consider what you want to achieve through the speech.

Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Having a shorter script so that the speech can be delivered in a comfortable pace. It is how you say it that is more important than what you say. 
  • Video yourself so that you can look at your own body language and listen to your own voice. In this way, you can pick up items to improve on. 
  • Don't memorize the script strictly. The script is just a guide. Say it in your own words if you can't remember.
Ask yourself these questions:
  • When should I pause?
  • When should I raise my voice or lower my voice?
  • What body gestures should I make?
  • How should I say this sentence? What emotions do I want to evoke in the audience. 
To us, school is more than just academic achievement. To have the courage and be able to deliver a speech in front of an audience is in fact a great achievement for Natalie. 

I'm just so proud of her courage to try. Now, she is so encouraged by this positive experience that she wants to participate in other competitions at National level. 


  1. Well done Natalie! And it was not just Natalie's hard work but parents' too.. Vetting her speech, videoing her practices... Way to go mummy & daddy!

    1. Thanks for your kind words. Yeah.. as parents we can only be supportive and do our best to help her along. :) but I think the most important is our encouragement. I was really surprised that she actually volunteered to participate. Winning is really just a bonus.. :)