Speaking Contests as a Tool to Promote Language Proficiency

Tatyana Neronova
Associate Professor
Fear of Public Speaking
“There are two types of
speakers: Those who get
nervous and those who
are liars.”
Mark Twain
Fear of Public Speaking
“According to most studies, people’s
number one fear is public speaking.
Number two is death. Death is
number two. Does that sound right?
This means to the average person, if
you go to a funeral, you’re
better off in the casket than
doing the eulogy.”
Jerry Seinfeld, Comedian
Fear of Public Speaking
Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public
speaking or of speaking in general.
Glossophobia is remarkably common. In fact, some
experts estimate that as much as 75% of the population
has some level of anxiety regarding public speaking.
Young Adults and Communication
• Facebooking, tweeting and texting are the
preferred forms of communication for young
• Social media interaction dominates both online
and offline conversations.
• Young people are more likely to speak to friends
and family through electronic devices than faceto-face.
Why bother with speaking?
We learn:
•10% of what we read
•20% of what we hear
•30% of what we see
•50% of what we see and hear
•70% of what we say
•90% of what we say and do
Bobbi DiPorter's 'Quantum Learning'
Why bother with speaking?
• Receptive vs. Productive skills
• Engagement of vocabulary,
listening, and critical thinking skills
• Increase in automaticity of
• Echoic and episodic memory
Public Speaking Contest Scoring
Lexical Control, Vocabulary Use
Grammar Control
Overall Presentation, Confidence Level
Use of Technology
Public Speaking Questionnaire
Speaking Contest Analysis
The contests served many purposes:
1. Was an activity wherein students
practiced speaking the foreign language
they were studying.
2. Helped to promote students’ overall
language proficiency, fluency and
3. Promoted students’ confidence in
speaking, not only in the foreign language
but in public speaking in general.
Speaking Contest Motivation
“You gain strength, courage and
confidence by every experience in
which you really stop to look fear
in the face. You must do the thing
which you think you cannot do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt
Speaking Contest Motivation
a. Start with a strong and
persistent desire.
b. Prepare.
c. Act confident.
d. Practice.
Dale Carnegie
“How to Develop Self-Confidence and
Influence People by Public Speaking”
• Public Speaking is still crucial to human interaction
despite it being the #1 fear of most and the growing
use of technology by younger generations.
• Speaking is the key to active production of the
foreign language.
• Speaking Contest is a tool that boosts students’
confidence in speaking in both the foreign language
and public speaking in general.
Q&A Session
Works Consulted
Carnegie, Dale. How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public
Speaking. New York: Pocket Books, 1991.
Cole, Cecil. Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking. Bookpubber, 2014.
Fowlkes, Jasmine. “Viewpoint: Why Social Media is Destroying our Social Skills.” USA
Today, October 11, 2012. College, Voices from Campus,
Jones, Graham. Stop Public Speaking Fear. London: Graham Jones, 2005. Accessed
October 31, 2014. http://books.google.com/books?id=HrgCygwtY9oC.
Kitchen, Roy. Phobia: Five Keys to Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking.
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2005.
Shaw, Peter. “Project-Based Learning and Foreign Language Education.” (Presentation
given at the Defense Language Institute – Foreign Language Center, Monterey,
California, September 29, 2014.
Thomas, L. Todd. Face the Fear: Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety. Manassas Park,
VA: Impact Publications, 2009.
Van Spijck, Benjamin. Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking. van Spijck E-marketing
B.V. and Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2010. Kindle Edition.

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