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(VI) To Convince - English Oral Presentation in 1 Semester 說服式演講 - 3個月讓成都學生說流利英文
I have a Swedish friend, speaking Swedish as his first language, and he is fluent in 6-7
other languages including English, German, Spanish, French, Arabic and Mandarin
Chinese. He always told me it’s too safe(i.e. boring) to be in Sweden, so he had high school
in Argentina and college in Syria(before 2012).
He came to China without speaking the language and traveled alone for a month from
Beijing to Chengdu before he met me. Once we were singing karaoke in a bar, I surprisingly
realized that he was singing a pop song in Spanish! That was the time I found this history.
I told the story to all my students in China, most of them could hardly understand: "Of
course, they are foreigners. It’s easier for them to learn!"
I explained to them that it’s not all the foreigners are from English-speaking countries, and
English might also be quite different from their mother language. On the contrary, Chinese
kids who were sent to English-speaking school in their early age and learned English for
almost two decades should have been better than merely asking “May I go to bathroom?” It
is the students themselves that are responsible to actively look for chances to speak and
think about what steps they missed while they were learning English.
Let’s look into how the Swedish guy did with his fluent English: travel, hanging out with
friends from different nations, and telling them about his adventures!
Yes, "telling stories" is very important. It is a skill of narrating some real-life objects
completely, making people comprehend better. Telling your own stories guide you to the
right way to learn English. With these practices, you will definitely make it soon!
My last writing was about "informative speech" which is to exactly introduce a concept from
a couple different aspects, just like telling a lot of stories. Yet when your conception is
different from others, you will have to discuss with them, or even to convince them into
yours. In this situation, you will need some further oral English training, persuasive speech!
Persuasive speech requires being witty and having fluent English, which are reachable with
the following training.
It was my routine to offer some different activities for my students to stimulate their
creativity. As I mentioned in part 2 of my writing "The way to learn English." in China, "the
creativity" is just as important as the "the speaking skilld" in this course.
For instance, on an island in the ocean, there are five people survived. Their jobs by
occupation are respectively, model, doctor, lawyer, military captain and the child of the
model. Unfortunately, the Noah's ark can only carry four people. I wanted five students to
play the roles these five men, to prove themselves useful onboard and kick a guy out of
This process was usually hilarious. My students could always find some funny but
persuasive ideas. In this way, they all had made progress combining “speaking" and "the
I spent more time on this exercise. There were also hundreds of similar situations for
my students to challenge. Usually, the more we did on this exercise, the better these
students would perform in the course thereafter.
In the end of the one semester course, we had the most important event, the final exam--a
debate. This debate requires each and every student along with all the skills they had
learned in the whole semester. With these skills, they could powerfully convince the
opponents at the podium!
We spent about two weeks on the preparation for the debate--started from the selecting of
the topic, formal outlines writing and eventually to the evidence collecting which was useful
to question the opponent group's statements. My students applied what they had just
learned in the semester.
The debate was super intensive and unforgettable. My students were surprised with their
own performance and the great feelings of accomplishment. The visiting professors
in SWJTU sitting in the back of my classroom were speechless. And the parents were
proud and pleasant. One mother told the lady sitting next to her, "Hahaha, the one
speaking now is my son! So wicked and smart! Even though I don’t understand anything
they were talking about, I could see his improvement on oral English this year! "
As to myself, satisfied!
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