Concours d’art oratoire
Canadian Parents for French’s Concours d’art oratoire is Canada’s largest,, annual French-language public-speaking competition, involving close to 10,000 students every year, and thousands of dollars worth of prizes. The aim of this public speaking contest is to stimulate the interest of students learning French, to improve their speaking skills, and to give them experience presenting in public.
This event is organized by Canadian Parents for French (CPF), who has worked together with parents and school staff since 1983 to organize school, district and provincial-level competitions. Concours is open to French Second Language (FSL) and Francophone students from grades 6 through 12 who are studying Core (Basic) or Intensive French, French immersion (Early or Late), or studying in a BC Francophone school (Conseil scolaire francophone).
Thousands of students compete at the school and district levels, in 2018, almost 300 winners traveled to the new Surrey campus of Simon Fraser University for the provincial finals where they competed in a one-day event in their specific category. First place winners in grade 12 then went on to compete at the national finals in Gatineau, Quebec, across from Ottawa. In 2019 the national finals took place in Gatineau.
The competition progresses through the following stages:
- Students participate in their local classrooms
- Top students move on to the School District competition
- Top students move on to the Provincial competition
- Top students in grade 12 move on to the National competition
Different categories are set out for students in French Immersion, Core French, and Francophone students. The speeches are judged by French-speaking volunteers: from university and college professors, to teachers and native Francophones, and even French immersion graduates, many of whom have themselves competed in Concours.