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Chatterbox 2022

Expectant queues of students formed outside the junior form classrooms during lunchtime. This was unusual for this time of day, but it could all be explained with one word…CHATTERBOX! This was an annual student-run English-speaking activity for all junior form classes held on 10th – 13th October 2022. During the activity, junior students were asked questions in English by S6 students and the junior students were required to give a meaningful and fluent verbal response for 1 minute. This answering format closely followed that of other activities at school and contained elements of the speaking examination, thus it was useful practice for all involved. The questions were also generated by the S6 students and were related to the five Catholic Core Values of Love, Life, Family, Truth and Justice.

Just prior to the activity, S6 students entered their allocated junior classrooms and set up desks in different corners. At the start of the activity, junior students stood in front of the S6 students, and each person would be asked a themed question. The challenge for each junior was to respond in a fluent, relevant and topical way for 60 seconds. A score and a few supportive words would be given and then it was on to the next candidate. Junior students gained even more practice by attempting up to 3 different questions in their home classroom.

Enthusiasm was high among the students being questioned, and queues remained full for much of the activity. Many students seemed a little nervous when providing their answers, but the activity provides essential practice for future English-speaking activities and oral examinations, where fluency, quick thinking and coherence are all important.

It was clear that the students used this chance to practice their English-speaking ability under some light “performance” pressure, and this experience would help prepare them for the examinations when it really counts.

All in all, participating students had a great time and enjoyed the friendly challenge. Thanks must go to the S6 students for volunteering their time, generating the questions and assessing their junior counterparts. This was a small but important experience in their Shungtakian school life.

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