The jury panel listen to speeches.Photos by Sun Yuchen
A grade-10 student from Shenzhen Experimental School, Wang Jiayu, won the first prize with his humorous and well-performed speech that illustrated his ideas about how innovative technology had changed the world at an English speech competition Saturday in Futian District.
Wang was among 13 students, from local public or international schools, who stood out from more than 200 students across the city. All participants were required to give their speeches in the TED style — with visual aids, no script and innovative idea sharing.
For the final competition, the 13 contestants were given three topics to choose from. Apart from the innovative technology topic, the other two topics were "What have you learned from a failure" and "Israel."
Most of the contestants chose to speak on lessons drawn from their failures, while all the male speakers shared their thoughts about how technological innovation has changed the world. Only two contestants bravely chose "Israel." Though students were required to give speeches following TED rules, the forms adopted by the contestants varied.
A contestant from Shenzhen College of International Education, known as Ada, shared her understanding of Israel by performing a poem-like speech, visualizing the isolated, hopeless, detached feeling of how the Israelis must feel about the tragic history of their country, accompanied with black and white slides of the wasteland as well as muffled background music. The contestant won the third prize.
Another student, Li Xinyang, a second-prize winner, also shared an outstanding speech stating that it was faith that had motivated the Israeli people from being bullied for thousands of years to found their own country through countless hardships.
Felix Zou, the youngest contestant, 12, from Basis International School, wowed the audience not only with his energetic talk show-style speech, but also his idea of eliminating education inequality with technology.
Being fond of chemistry, Zou has created a computer program to help his fellow students understand science principals better. He believed that technological innovation can help equalize education if students from rural areas also have access to Internet. He tied for second place at the competition.
The competition was organized by the Shenzhen Media Group, the Shenzhen Evening News and the Shenzhen Daily with the organizing committee Shenzhen Inter-School Competition.
"The reason why we chose the TED talk style for this speech contest is that, TED talks can better enhance students' critical thinking and storytelling skills," said Ashley Zhang, the deputy chairwoman of the organization.
"TED talks are more like a presentation, during which students will use visual aids to demonstrate their key points, and these presentation skills are vital to the future of their education and career endeavors," said Zhang.
Four expatriate experts and professors from corporations and universities formed the judging panel. "I have never seen 13 to 16-year-olds speak like this before and all participants performed wonderfully," said Kevin Yuen, the marketing director of Macquarie Capita, Greater China Region.
"It's important for students to develop skills not only as Chinese leaders in society, in businesses, but also on the global stage," said Yuen. "Students in Shenzhen are lucky as the city is an innovation hub and provides a lot of unique opportunities and environments for students to develop their skills."