First Place: Takuma Natsume “The Importance of Education in Cutting the Chain of Poverty”
Second Place: Aiko Ohno “Translation Technology and Society”
Commentary to Mr Natsume
Mr. Natsume’s essay is very well written on the topic of the essential role education can play in breaking the chain of poverty that is often transmitted from generation to generation in Japan. In the introduction, he succinctly explains the nature of the issue, which transitions naturally into the thesis statement. Mr. Natsume’s thesis statement is specific, concise and clear in taking an unequivocal stand on the need for improving the quality of education for poorer students, which in turn will open doors for them in finding better jobs. The body of support information is well-organized and logical with cohesive transitions throughout. Mr. Natsume develops persuasive arguments to show the strong connection between a person’s academic background and later earnings from work. The arguments are founded on an impressive use of statistical data from a variety of sources that make the writers supporting views very difficult to refute. The statistical data is interpreted very well. The results are then related to secondary information that suggests explanations of why poorer students are less likely to receive a good education. This analysis transitions logically into a conclusion that challenges the government to enact Mr. Natsume’s suggested measures to offer poorer students greater access to a better education.
Commentary to Ms Ohno
Ms. Ohno’s essay is written very well on the relationship between automatic translation technology and society. In the introduction, she establishes a clear position in the thesis statement that although translation technology has demonstrated dramatic improvements in recent years, translation by humans is still indispensable to avoid miscommunication. Ms. Ohno presents convincing arguments in sufficient detail to back up her assertion; namely, translation technology has not developed to the extent of reading all nuances of texts accurately and distinguishing proper nouns from common nouns. She further contends that translation is still an art in that every step of the process requires personal choice between alternatives that are based on the whole antecedent education, personality and value systems of the translator. She uses a considerable number of examples throughout the body to underline and elucidate her main ideas. The conclusion that the human factor is still and may always be important in translation sums up her position well.
General Comments to All Participants
First, I would like to thank all of the writers for their commitment and hard work in preparing essays that were truly interesting, well-organized and a pleasure to read. Presented with such a large number of well-written papers, it was very hard to select the best ones. Although only two contestants were awarded the top prizes, I believe everyone who took part in this competition was a winner. By this I mean that all of you wrote very good essays in English on topics of interest and relevance to the world we live in. Think of all the students who could have been selected for this competition but were not. From the high quality of papers submitted, it is clear that you invested the time and made the effort to use your English writing skills to produce excellent essays that separated your work from that of the many other students in all your classes. I believe you are enriched for having done so. In the future, I hope you will take every opportunity to improve your writing and critical thinking skills. Please keep in mind that writing is similar to learning other skills in that it requires a lot of practice. The more you write will produce positive results in improving accuracy, fluency, style and creativity.
- Appropriate Topic
- Persuasive Essay
- Format Includes:
- Introduction with thesis statement
- Each paragraph contains a topic sentence
- Body organized with strong arguments and sufficient supporting details
- Quality of sentence construction
- Vocabulary used correctly for specific topics
- Transition between ideas
- Logical organization with a well-defined thematic focus
- Individual writing style
First Place: Honoka Takayoshi “Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Japan”
Second Place: Jiadong GU “Political Correctness”
Honorable Mention: Danwei Wang “Living to Eat”
The three categories of criteria used to evaluate this year’s presentations were content, presentation skills, and language usage. Presenters who attained high scores in the content category were those who chose topics of adequate complexity, showed evidence of academic research to support their positions, and conveyed their ideas in a structured and coherent way Design and format of visual aids also factored in to the evaluation of content. Assessment of presentation skills focused on methods of delivery: voice volume, fluency, use of hand gestures, body language, and eye contact. Finally, language usage was judged based on the accuracy and range of grammar and vocabulary employed, as well as on the appropriateness of intonation and pronunciation. The ability of a presenter to respond precisely and confidently to question posed after the presentation also played an important role in the overall assessment.
In general, this year’s winners were selected because, in addition to meeting the above criteria, they appeared confident and were clearly well prepared. Preparation does not necessarily entail memorising a script, but it likely requires drafting at least an outline of the individual points to be covered. It is important to know the material well enough to be covered. It is important to know the material well enough to be able to speak without long pauses or redundancy. This year’s winners demonstrated they had thoroughly engaged with their topic and through that process arrived at a novel and/pr sufficiently nuanced perspective on the topic. Successful speakers organised their speech so that important points and supporting ideas were presented in a way that made it easy for their audience to follow. these presenters also used eye contact, body language, and tone of voice to actively engage their listeners. As each presenter had their own combination of strengths and weaknesses, all would do well to consider the aspects of presentation planning and delivery described above and to focus on identifying and improving their own areas of weakness in the future.