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Thread: Assessment: Viva Voce

  1. #1
    jhakka
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    Assessment: Viva Voce

    Welcome you to this thread, I do now.

    Because of the revamp that Lynn and I have been working on since we started up the "Assessment: Proposal" thread all those months ago, I figure it's about time to start working on the other assessments.

    Anyways, this is about the time where your proposals have been handed in (or handed back, for that matter), and your teacher has directed your attention to Round 2 of assessments. The Viva has the potential to be really nasty, especially for those who think "Oh my god! Public speaking!" or it could be a hell of a lot of fun... even for those who think "Oh my god! Public speaking!"

    And now that you have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll get into my guide to the Viva Voce. And if you're thinking of taking my advice, please read my disclaimer a couple of posts down first.


    Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope. (About the assessment):
    This is usually the second of the three internal assessments, and is weighted at about 20% (out of 50%). It's a pretty big chunk of the documentation for your major work, and although this seems a bit intimidating, it's not really as bad as it looks. It depends on how early you prepare yourself, and what your teacher is after.

    Unlike the Proposal, this assessment should be about the idea you want to use for your Major Work. In fact, it's usually held some time in Term Two or early Term Three, so you'd want to have put some decent work in by this point. This time we're past selling our idea. Now we have to justify the way we're trying to make it work.


    Aren't you a little short for a Storm Trooper? (What to do):
    This assessment is not a written one. This is one that you present to your teachers and possibly, if you're really lucky, a whole other class. When I did my Viva Voce, I presented it to my Advanced/Extension 1 and my Extension 2 teacher as well as the Year 11 Extension 1 class. But don't think the pressure is on. Sometimes an actual audience is helpful, especially when things such as engaging the audience come into play.

    The aim of this assessment is to show your teacher what you've been doing for the last few months. They want to see what you started with, what your idea is, what research you've done, where you're going with it, and what decisions you've had to make. The key to not being tripped up in this one by a teacher who asks you all the wrong questions is preparation. Sure you might want to be a bit of a showman with some comedy (laughs keep the audience interested), but you need actual content here, so you might want to think of perparation, what you want to talk about, and how you want to talk about it.

    Preparation:
    This is the key for any presentation. Make sure you have everything ready, because when you walk in that door your teachers will not let you walk back out until it's over. Be ready.

    I would suggest having any of the following ready: a Powerpoint presentation (or something similar) so you can have something visual for your audience to make reference to; a sample of your major work so you can show that you've actually been doing something rather than sitting around and thinking about doing something; a timeline of your work, including info about your major work itself, research, etc; your journal, even if you have some pages marked so you can make reference to it; and notes, just in case you do manage to forget what you want to talk about.

    Remember, the more you have at your disposal, the less chance you'll have at tripping up. You don't have to use all of the above, but it's always helpful to have them there in case you need them. Your teachers will ask you questions, so be ready for it.

    What to talk about:
    What does it say on your criteria sheet? Usually it will include a recap of some of the material from your proposal, but it will also include things like your progress, how your concept has evolved, or even how you plan to get this finished on time. Make sure you know your Major Work inside and out, and make sure you have a battle plan for getting it handed in on time. For your sake, I hope your journal is detailed, because it's really useful when looking back for things to talk about in this little task.

    How to talk about it:
    There is one thing I don't like about Extension 2 students, and that is the fact that a lot of them have confidence that is not proportionate to their abilities. Please remember that you are not a university professor and that you are not God's gift to the intellectual community. You are a student talking to a teacher. Do not talk down to them. Be confident, be polite, and be respectful. Make sure you are engaging. DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Know the teacher. If you know they were born without a sense of humour, don't crack jokes. If you know they like to be entertained as well as provided with information, be funny, interact, be willing to take a risk. Make sure you leave things open to discussion. If you're asked a question, answer it. Elaborate. Try and lead on to another topic that will make you look better. Every small bit helps. It is likely that there will be something in the criteria about how you communicate. If you don't have social skills, you better grow some pretty quickly.

    And totally out of the blue (and copied from my old post), most importantly know the criteria! Make sure you know what they want so you can do it! It's no use talking about your cat when they want you to talk about how many words you think your work will be (for example). Make sure you address everything they want to hear before you go off on a tangent. Most of your marks will come from addressing the criteria, so focus on that. Then you can go off and do what you think is important and get more. When you prepare, prepare what they want to see first.


    Who's scruffy looking? (Layout and format):
    Depending on how your teachers want to run this, there could be some variations in how this assessment is run. What I've seen in my experience (my own Viva Voce, and watching the class of '03 present theirs when I was in Year 11) is that the teacher allows a couple of minutes to set up. Spread your material out on the table. Handouts, your own notes, overheads, etc. Set up the laptop, load your presentation off your USB drive (who uses 3.5 inch floppies these days?), complain that it isn't working so download the copy you emailed yourself just in case... and so on. Technology is useful, but always prepare for the worst. Especially on school computers.

    After your set up time, you'd probably get between five and ten minutes to talk about your work, how you've developed as a composer, etc, etc. Use this time wisely. If there's a time limit, stick to it. Markers don't like it when you go over time. Or under, for that matter. Get as much information in as efficiently as possible. If you need to scrap something unimportant to talk about something big, do it. You can always come back in question time.

    Your teachers will probably want to ask you questions, too. This is the important bit. It's all well and good to have material ready, but they want to see you on the spot. Be ready. Know everything. This section could make or break your assessment. It shouldn't be too hard. It is about your work, after all.


    I think that's about it. I'm sure that Lynn will pick up things that I've missed. Enjoy this assessment. It's the fun one. It's the one where you get to show off. It's the one where you get to be a person with your own opinions. Take advantage of it. Stay calm. Stay cool. Enjoy it.

    May the Force be with you.
    -Justin

    Note: You can find more info and opinions on the Viva Voce here: Documenting: Viva Voce
    Last edited by jhakka; 24 Feb 2006 at 11:35 PM.

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    I think the second-most important thing (I'll explain what I feel is the most important thing later ) about the Viva Voce is the fact that it is possibly the most "open" EE2 assessment you'll ever do. Each school interprets the assessment in a different way - you may be called on to do a formally prepared speech, a written assessment, or a combination of the above and/or others such as powerpoint presentations (your school should specify what form they want the Viva in). And guess what! Individual students will also interpret this assessment in their own personal way, so you can be sure that it's not as clear-cut as say, the Proposal or Report is. As such, I would not worry overmuch about the exact assessment method described by myself and Justin. What you really want to hear is what we have to say about the assessment itself.

    But for those who have been given a very loose frame to work with, reading up on how a couple of other Viva's were structured might give you a bit of an idea how to structure yours. Here's what was required of my Viva Voce for your reading pleasure

    Outcomes Assessed in the HGHS Viva Voce:
    1) A student develops and presents an extended composition that demonstrates depth, insight, originality and skills in independant investigation
    2) A student reflects on and documents own process of composition.

    The requirements of the HGHS Viva Voce:
    1. The Viva Voce will consist of two parts:

    Part A: Present a FIVE minute prepared summary of your major work to date.

    Part B: Respond to questions from a panel of two teachers. The interview will not follow a rigid model, but most of the following questions will be dealt with in the course of the conversation. This will take approximately 15 minutes. (A series of sample questions was provided after this and I will cover them in good time)

    Now, I'm not normally a huge user of subheadings, but since I see this post getting pretty long I'll make an exception. Enjoy!

    My first and most vivid memory related to my Viva Voce
    When my classmates and I read up on the Viva Voce requirements, we looked at each other and groaned. Not another oral assessment! (We'd been doing these for EE1 and Eng Adv all through Yr 11, and were quite sick of it) But there was a twist this time.

    We were called to an EE2 lunchtime meeting, and our teachers started handing out bright yellow palm cards - one per student, they were about 1/6th of a A4 page in size. We were thinking this was some kind of joke... what kind of teacher passes out canary yellow palmcards? And then one of the teachers told us that aside from our Journal (which was to be handed in for a check at the same time), this yellow palm card was the ONLY thing we were allowed to bring into the room other than ourselves.

    Omg. That little thing wasn't big enough to write a whole 5 minute's worth of speech on, and it was barely big enough to cover main point topics. Can you say panic? lol. But my teachers were really passionate about us speaking from the heart rather than having pre-prepared, polished responses. After a year of trying to be as polished as possible, this was kinda scary, but more in the kind of "oh I want to do this so bad but I haven't done it in ages so...ahhhh! Scary!"

    What I feel is the most important part of the Viva Voce
    Unlike so many other prepared aural assessments, the Viva Voce asks YOU to reflect on something YOU have written. It's deeply personal - so why shouldn't the assessment be equally personal?

    A while after flipping out over the pint-sized scrap of "palmcard" paper my EE2 teacher gave me, I realised that I didn't really need it at all. It was there for comfort, to jog my memory if I needed it, but I don't need a piece of paper to tell me what is already inside of me. All these ideas and feelings and words were already struggling to make themselves known in the real world - they didn't need much help at all!

    The beauty of the Viva Voce is that it's an outlet for all these crazy/passionate ideas and feelings. The teachers want to get inside your head, to understand how and why you're doing things in a particular way, to find out what drives you, what inspires you. I'm not sure about anyone else, but I LOVED talking about my major work and it's process back when I was doing EE2 - I'd warble away to any willing ear! And here was a perfect opportunity, fact aside I'd be assessed on it.

    Now, I've glossed over choice of language so far because I've been doing the whole personal recount thing. As a general rule, I try to be highly approachable and sort of "dumb down" what I say (probably due to too many years in a selective school feeling I was the dumb one that wasn't supposed to be there - mind you, a lot of us felt that way lol). So, people like me need to make sure we don't make it too informal, and other people may have to do the opposite.

    While we're at it, may I make an EE1-inspired request. If you don't understand what a particular concept or terminology really is, DON'T USE IT. You are there to talk about your major work - not to make a fool of yourself as you demonstrate the fact you were a little too thesaurus-happy and Google-happy the night/s before. There is no point in 'fulfilling syllabus requirements' if you aren't actually learning anything - do your research. Understand what the hell you're planning on talking about. Actually KNOW the concepts and terminology you're fond of using. You will gain so much more this way, some of which include using terms in the right context and avoiding repeating yourself/mentioning totally unneccessary stuff. Lots of EE1 people do this - don't do it in EE2!!!! (and don't do it in EE1 either! lol)

    One more thing - the nature of the Viva Voce lends itself somewhat to "impromptu" speaking, even though it may be intended to be a "prepared speech". Do get a grip on what you're going to say, but be prepared to have to speak on the spot. This is why it helps to speak from the heart - you don't need to rely on pre-prepared notes.

    How I prepared for my Viva Voce
    Coming from a reasonably hard-core performing arts background, I'm normally able to wing oral assessments pretty well due to the fact I know how to "speak" well - body language, voice projection, tone modulation, engaging the audience and that sort of thing. At rough estimate, I think my final scores always get jacked up a good 2-3/20 because of this... if it were based on content quality alone I'd struggle a bit more. So if you are doing an oral-based assessment, remember not to throw all your energy into the content - spare a thought for its delivery as well. It's worth it, I swear!

    But public speaking aside, it never hurts to do a little "practice speaking" to help you get a grip on what your main points will be. Most of the time, you'll subconsciously know what they are and be constantly driving towards it, but for the purpose of supporting your own arguments it's good to consciously know where you're at and how you feel about things.

    I spent a number of hours nattering away at my computer screen last year. I think that's when the rest of my family thought I'd finally cracked it... but I think all the "practice talking" helped. Here are the questions my school provided us with: (all would benefit from the ability to answer these questions, regardless of whether your Viva includes an interview or not)

    *Are you happy with the way your major work is developing?
    *Has your major work changed in any way from your initial concept as outlined in your Proposal? If so, how and why?
    *What problems of difficulties have you encountered? How have you dealt with them?
    *What do you think you have learnt from the major work experience?
    *What benefits do you see in the journal process?
    *What are your immediate goals at this stage of your major work?
    *Describe two significant items of stimulus material recorded in your journal and describe the impact these have had on your major work.
    * Who have you talked to about your major work? What impact has this had on your major work?

    Final notes on the Viva Voce
    Ten minutes prior to my Viva Voce, I realised that I hadn't written anything on that yellow palmcard. So, I scribbled a few notes on one side. I was trying to think of a good way to summarise my concept, when I realised that words wouldn't do it as much justice as a squiggle would - and so I squiggled on the other side of my yellow palmcard It actually served it's process really well as a visual representation of psychological "layers", so just remember that if something doesn't work as well as you'd like, look outside the box and try something else.

    I went into my Viva Voce with basically nothing prepared, worried that I wouldn't talk to time. As it happened, I went for a good 19 minutes including the interview And I walked away feeling exhilarated - it was the funnest assessment I'd ever done in my life!
    Last edited by jhakka; 12 Apr 2006 at 11:04 PM.

  3. #3
    jhakka
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Just a bit of a disclaimer:
    The things that Lynn and I post will not be the same. One of us may miss out on something that the other will mention. Sometimes we will have conflicting comments. The most important thing to remember is that what we are writing is a general guide, and that we are not more knowledgeable than your teachers. If there are issues, please take it up with them. We are not responsible for your work, and if you choose to take our advice, I strongly urge you to run it by your teacher first.

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Lynny finally finished her post (see above). Now that her #2 place in the thread is firmly secured, this thread is being opened so everyone else can have a go at posting

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    U know that there is no criteria for speaking for the viva voce, so techinically speaking, it does not have to be spoke.

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    I may be totally misinterpreting your post, but as I mentioned at the very beginning of my post:

    Quote Originally Posted by glitterfairy
    I think the second-most important thing (I'll explain what I feel is the most important thing later ) about the Viva Voce is the fact that it is possibly the most "open" EE2 assessment you'll ever do. Each school interprets the assessment in a different way - you may be called on to do a formally prepared speech, a written assessment, or a combination of the above and/or others such as powerpoint presentations (your school should specify what form they want the Viva in). And guess what! Individual students will also interpret this assessment in their own personal way, so you can be sure that it's not as clear-cut as say, the Proposal or Report is. As such, I would not worry overmuch about the exact assessment method described by myself and Justin. What you really want to hear is what we have to say about the assessment itself.
    Thank you.

  7. #7
    jhakka
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Quote Originally Posted by darcho
    U know that there is no criteria for speaking for the viva voce, so techinically speaking, it does not have to be spoke.
    We talk from our own experiences, mate. This is why we post the disclaimer saying that what we write may not be correct in your situation. This is why you ask your teacher before taking our advice.

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    What a great post; thank you!!

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    Victory is mine. ScottyG's Avatar
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    My viva-voce is tomorrow. 25 minute beast it is. I'll need full marks if I'm to get 1st, because some of the people in our ext2 class simply don't make mistakes. *huddles in a corner*
    Interloping again.

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    Member Ellie_Belly's Avatar
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Thanks for the great advice guys

    My Viva is on next Wednesday. I want to do well!



    El Monster







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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellie_Belly
    Thanks for the great advice guys

    My Viva is on next Wednesday. I want to do well!
    Best wishes, Ellie! Have fun!

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    Member Ellie_Belly's Avatar
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Quote Originally Posted by glitterfairy
    Best wishes, Ellie! Have fun!
    Thanks!



    El Monster







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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    hello - lovely post but u still have aural instead of oral, look at the first paragraph under "How I prepared my Viva Voce". My Viva is split in two - part A and part B. one this week and the other next term.

  14. #14
    jhakka
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Why is it split in two? That just seems unecessarily painful.

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Yeah but hey its up to the teacher; the first (part A) is 10/50 and all about the investigation...partB is weighted the same and all about the major work itself

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    Junior Member nahian's Avatar
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Thanks heaps guys for the advice
    I was also talking to my teacher about it b4 holidays
    and he said the thing that will separate the marks would be the people who are in 'control' of the discussion

    can you help me clarify this??
    im confused between clarity, confidence and depth

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    control is a matter of fully knowing what you're saying and prompting certain questions to which you know are coming and you have the answer... control is about confidence too - the ability to communicate without hestitation or second thoughts and the delivery. depth is the amount of detail and the thought put into a certain issue that characterises its 'sophistication'. clarity is when you express yourself in a lucid, clear manner so as not to be ambiguous or to prompt further clarification questions. having clarity will help you be in control of the direction of the viva voce.

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    Junior Member nahian's Avatar
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    HAHAH thanks I knoe what they mean
    what i meant is in the context of the 'viva voce', what is meant by this control?

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Quote Originally Posted by nahian
    HAHAH thanks I knoe what they mean
    what i meant is in the context of the 'viva voce', what is meant by this control?
    It means quite simply(at least IMO) that they want you to clearly lead the discussion, they want a presentation as opposed to them interrogating you. For example you would initiate a discussion of how your work is suited to an audience rather than the teachers having to ask you questions on each and every single point.

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Quote Originally Posted by nahian
    HAHAH thanks I knoe what they mean
    what i meant is in the context of the 'viva voce', what is meant by this control?
    This being said, you have to remember that you can't just go in there and bully them into asking specific questions - remain respectful, they're still higher on the food chain than you are!

    (Remember that each school runs differently... my teachers asked a number of pre-prepared questions that came totally out of the blue in my viva, whereas others might pose them on the spot)

    Think of it like a celebrity interview. The interviewer doesn't want a one-sentence answer. They tend to ask open-ended questions which require far more than a simple answer - this is your opportunity to answer the question intelligently and eloquently.

    NB: Don't feel pressured to use "fancy language" - it frequently trips people up in essays when they use it out of context, and you can just imagine the real life stats. You will probably have to know the names of particular concepts/techniques used in your MW (duh, lol) but don't feel like you need to be best friends with a thesaurus in order to get full marks.

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    Junior Member nahian's Avatar
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Thank you
    YOU GUYS ARE SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    wow - i didn't realise how much it would vary from school to school... i feel lucky. Ours only go for 5minutes, and we aren't to prepare a speech, we are just suppose to have a conversation with three teachers. If they ask us questions, it is actually a bad thing, because it means they are trying to prompt us to say something that we should have covered ourselves. but then again, we have like 90 kids doing ext.2(and i'm first!!!!!), so maybe they just want to get them done quickly

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    ninety?!!!!!??!?!!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?! ?!?!?!?!!?!?!!?!?!!?!!??!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!

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    Junior Member nahian's Avatar
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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    90!
    Wtf!!!!!!!

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    Re: Assessment: Viva Voce

    Are you freakin serious?
    "Life is anything that dies when you stomp on it." - Dave Barry

    Courses: 4U English, 2U Maths, SDD, Modern History, Extension History, Economics
    Any Questions?
    Email: pungemo@gmail.com
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