Two students, Oskar Fatul from Year VIII of our basic school and Daniel Dulla from class 1.A of our newly-established high school, recently participated in the Žilina regional round of the Olympiada competition for English. The Olympiada is a comprehensive test of students’ knowledge of grammar and vocabulary as well as their listening, speaking and reading skills. The regional round for the Žilina region was held at Gymnázium Jozefa Miloslava Hurbana in Čadca on Monday February 10th.
Oskar competed in the 1C category, which is for ‘bilingual’ basic school students. It includes students who have an English-speaking parent, those who attend a bilingual school, or (as in Oskar’s case) those who study a subject in English. Oskar qualifies for this category because he has one lesson of a week of science in English.
Daniel was in the 2C1 category, which is for students who attend bilingual high schools. There is no division by age, which means that, as a first-year student, he was competing against students three or four years older than him.
Considering the level of the competition, it was not realistic to expect our students to win, but we were very pleased with their results. Oskar finished 10th out of 18 students in his category, while Daniel came 5th out of 13, thus defeating several of those 18 year-olds!
I believe that the whole experience was a very beneficial one for the two students. Because Olympiada is a competition for the best students in the region (each school can send only one student per category), they have to deal with a higher level of English than they typically meet at school. Also, it’s a challenge to compete against those who might have an advantage over you, for example because they have more English lessons at school, or are older and have more experience of similar competitions.
Equally, it was a good experience for me as a teacher, in terms of giving some pointers as to how we could better prepare students at school. One thing I would like to do in 2014/2015 is make the ‘school round’ of Olympiada stronger, especially in the 1C category, where only four students participated this year. There are talented students in the current 6th and 7th years, so I would hope they will offer a better level of participation next year. As for the 2C1 level, Daniel’s performance this year shows that we have a very realistic chance of winning the regional round in the next two or three years.
Meanwhile, thanks to both Oskar and Daniel for representing the school so well this year.