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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2013 Winter Issue]>[Cultivating global professionals] First place at ESS Speech Contest

Hakumon CHUOIndex

Cultivating global professionals

Winner Saito (right) and runner-up Suzuki (chairperson). Photos from ESS

Becoming an English teacher like my mother

Madoka Saito
Winner of the Alumni Speech Contest by the Chuo University English Speaking Society

The 11th Alumni Speech Contest of the Chuo University English Speaking Society (ESS) was held on October 19 at the small hall of C Square on the Chuo University Tama Campus. Madoka Saito, a first-year student in the Faculty of Letters, took first place. She also won first place at the CHESS Speech Contest for first-year students in June. It was a feat of winning the two contests following a champion of the year before last.

Only ten contestants who have passed preliminaries can participate in the final speech contest. The spotlights in the hall were focused on each speaker. In this tense atmosphere, Saito took the podium as the fifth speaker.

Once on stage, Saito cast her gaze over the hall and calmly began her speech entitled “The new door I opened.” She discussed her ideas in polite and easy-to-understand English, using intervals to emphasize her points and intonation to create interest. The prescribed 5-minute time limit was soon over.

A break was taken after speeches by the first five contestants. When Saito returned to front-row seats reserved for speakers, she was greeted by words of commendation from society chairperson Okuto Suzuki (2nd year, Faculty of Economics), who was seated nearby.

“Congratulations. That was a great speech.”

“Thank you,” replied Saito in a small voice. Then, the first-year speaker confessed that her legs had trembled from nervousness and she could not stand still, although the podium had hidden her from the audience.

Nevertheless, thanks to many hours of practice, Saito was able to maintain her composure and speak smoothly. “She mastered the ability to give a fine speech,” commented chairperson Suzuki proudly.

Saito has always liked English.

“I was fond of my English teacher when I was a first year student in junior high school,” she recalls. “I really enjoyed English classes. My teacher told me that reading aloud was important, so I started reading my English texts out loud at home.”

Saito developed an interest in English speeches and started to repeatedly watch videos of English speeches. She learned to use techniques such as intervals and gestures, and became able to alter her tone of voice when reading the next paragraph of a speech draft.

After winning the CHESS Speech Contest in June, Saito gained the confidence to enter the Alumni Speech Contest and compete against older students. She passed the rigorous screening for speech drafts and displayed her full ability on the top-level ESS stage, taking the winner’s trophy.

The speaking ability acquired through giving speeches is also useful in the volunteer guide activities which are another popular part of the ESS. Guides volunteer at sightseeing spots in Tokyo such as the Imperial Palace, Meiji Shrine, and Asakusa, using English to introduce Japanese history and cultures to foreign sightseers. Saito was praised for her English proficiency when she guided a French resident of the U.S. in Asakusa.

Saito works part-time at a sushi restaurant. Many foreigners like sushi, so she uses English to convey knowledge about sushi which she has learned at the restaurant. “I am often asked what kinds of toppings are available,” she explains. “Foreigners are also interested in wasabi, often asking about the amount added to sushi.”

Through interaction with non-Japanese people, Saito learns about the interests of foreigners and rediscovers Japanese culture and traditions. This expands the field of her study even further.

“I still haven’t had the opportunity to study abroad,” says Saito when discussing her future dreams. The ESS offers alumni support for students interested in studying overseas. Moreover, Saito is still inspired by the teacher who kindled her interest in English when she began studying as a first year student in junior high school. Her mother is also an English teacher at a junior high school.

“I hope to become an English teacher, too,” says Saito.

In the near future, children will develop an interest in English in the classroom of teacher Madoka Saito.

ESS Activities

The society welcomes new members at anytime.

The English Speaking Society (ESS) provides students with various opportunities to experience, learn, and use English. The society belongs to the Association of Student Clubs, which celebrates the 110th anniversary of its foundation this year.

In their free time from classes, ESS members gather at the society’s room to engage in English from a variety of perspectives, including listening and speaking practice for the TOEIC test. During school vacations, they hold English training camps by inviting native English speakers as instructors.

Participants are divided into groups of about 6 people and use English to discuss a variety of topics. Discussions are held in cooperation with more than 10 universities including Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, the University of Tokyo, and Waseda University.

Offers onsite (no reservation necessary) guide service to foreigners at sightseeing spots such as Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace, and Asakusa. These activities are conducted in cooperation with many other universities. Special trips are also taken to Kyoto and Kamakura.

In addition to speech contests hosted by alumni, the ESS participates in and holds many other student speech contests. For practice, bimonthly presentations are held within the society.

▽Exchange with foreign students
The ESS supports the lifestyle of foreign students in Japan by planning joint excursions, BBQs, etc.

In spring of 2013, the ESS held the English theatre performance for the first time in 45 years. A performance was also given by new staff on November 23.

▽Other events
The society also holds non-English activities including ski trips, Christmas and Halloween parties, etc. These events deepen bonds between ESS members and ehance the sense of unity when performing other activities.

The new door I opened
Madoka Saito

Is it easy for you to speak English? For me it had NOT been EASY until I joined ESS.

 After entering university I found many of my new friends have been to foreign countries and they speak good English. I was so depressed. I couldn’t speak it .uently or I couldn’t even introduce myself. I didn’t have an English conversation class when I was in junior high school and high school. I felt ashamed of my poor English and I was afraid of speaking it in front of many people because I wasn’t con.dent. I had never thought of studying abroad.

 One day in April, I knocked on the door of ESS. After I took some lessons, I found ESS was interesting, informative and intellectual. There were so many good senior students who speak English very well. Then, one of the seniors encouraged me to apply for a speech contest for freshmen in June. He told me that it would be a good experience and opportunity for my university life. I hadn’t made up my mind to participate in it or not. In the end, I decided to join the contest to change myself. Luckily, I could win the .rst prize and I couldn’t believe it. What surprised me most was the fact that many of my friends came to ask me, “Have you been abroad many times or long time?”I said, “Never”. They were surprised and said, “Really? Your pronunciation was so good.” That made me very happy and gave me a little con.dence.

 What made my pronunciation good, then? Was it English conversation school? The answer is “No.” I’ve never been to any English conversation school. My .rst English teacher advised me, “Read your textbook aloud and you would be good at English.”I always kept that in my mind and did so every day. I realized the most important thing to learn foreign languages is to read aloud and try to copy the real pronunciation. Thanks to my experience of the speech contest, I feel a little con.dent to speak English and now I’d like to speak English more than ever.

 I’ m happy to .nd a good place to speak English. And in addition, I can know other points of view from discussions and learn di.erent ways of expressions from the speeches of my friends. It is very informative for me to know others’ opinions. They inspire me to make a greater e.ort. I could make my English world wider and deeper by joining ESS. Now there are many things I want to do in ESS. In the sightseeing guide program I want to communicate with foreigners in English and explain for them good points of Japanese culture and history. In discussion meetings I want to exchange opinions with friends and try to learn a broader view of things. I will also make speeches in con.dence in front of many people.

 Through these activities I’ m sure I can make my university life rich and full of excitement. By opening the door of ESS, I have changed my life style from passive to active and from negative to positive. I’m getting more and more interested in English and now I’m eager to go abroad to study English. I’m looking forward to opening other new doors by myself.