Vertinimo komisijos vadovo apibendrinimas

Essay Competition Summary

When choosing the topics of this year’s essay competition, we wanted something relevant to students’ lives, something they could sink their teeth into and would allow them to show us their best. For the 19 year 9/10 students who participated, we asked them to write about ways of dealing with peer pressure and how to develop one’s own individuality. For the 40 year 11/12 school leavers involved we asked them about something undoubtedly on their minds: succeeding in a career and whether personality affected this.
 
As soon as we began reading the entries it was evident that the responses, in one clear way, were the exactly same: they were all good, very good. How, then, to choose the winners? To work with native-speaker English teachers from SIH, a team of local experts, that is, teachers from Vilnius secondary schools (none of which, it should be noted, had participants in the competition), was called in to help evaluate the essays and do the difficult job of determining the best.
 
How did they decide? Four criteria were used: how well did students respond to the topic and complete the task? In doing so, what range of grammar and vocabulary was used and with what level of accuracy? How well was the essay organized? Finally, how interesting was the essay to read as a whole?
 
In every case, the answer to this final question was simple: quite interesting. In discussing ways how students could develop their own identities, nearly every participant agreed that peer pressure among teens was rampant and unavoidable and the resounding common response was that teens should just be themselves. Some writers, however, proposed thoughtful suggestions concerning the development of self-esteem backed with sound practical advice. For example, one writer suggested that instead of trying to fit in with a group that was simply popular or cool and often marked by negative attitudes, teens should join students with shared academic interests or hobbies and a positive attitude. That’s good advice, isn’t it?
 
Students responding to the argument that personality paved the way to a successful career were no less thoughtful and creative. While most participants tended to agree, some remarked insightfully that the success a person can achieve through having a strong personality might not always be deserving, citing no less than Lenin as an example! Others argued that while personality was important for advancing your career and distinguishing yourself from others, it was no substitute for talent, which, some students argued, really separated the good from the great. A few students noted quite interestingly that because personality is formed early in a child’s life, parents and teachers had a crucial role in determining a child’s future success.
 
But the common denominator in all our responses was the belief that nothing could be achieved without hard work. We agree, and judging by the amount of thought and effort put into the entries we received in this year’s essay competition, the students of Vilnius secondary schools have very bright and successful futures ahead of them.
 
Chris Featherman, SIH Teacher & Evaluation Group Leader




   
 
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