TNKR English Speech Contest #7

Deadline for coaching applications: January 13, 2018

Orientation for coaches: January 20, 2018 from 2-4 pm at TNKR

Speech contest: February 24, 2018 from 2-5 pm at the Shin and Kim office

Guidelines for coaches:

Application Period

  • Apply at the TNKR volunteer page: (Select “Tutoring/Coaching”). Application are due January 13, 2018. In your resume, you can introduce why you will be a wonderful coach, citing your experience or other reasons.
  • Resist temptation: This is meant for current tutors and coaches in TNKR. Do not help the refugees with their speeches being submitted to apply to join the contest.
    • We want speakers to develop their main ideas on their own.
    • After the contest, we can do a “before” and “after” to see how much they have improved and demonstrate the development in their speeches. This learning exercise won’t be possible if tutors and coaches help refugees from the beginning. We have also informed contestants about this, so if you help them with their speeches being submitted to apply to the contest, they will know that you are violating our guidelines.
    • We also want them to have the sense of accomplishment that others have felt when they submitted original speeches on their own.
  • Orientation first: To be considered a coach for this contest, you must apply, be invited to attend the January 20th orientation, and then go through the orientation with TNKR co-founder Casey Lartigue Jr. and senior fellow Tony Docan-Morgan. Before that, avoid discussing the contest with potential contestants. We also don’t want refugees feeling pressured to join the contest because of an eager coach or tutor (it has happened).
  • RSVP: The Speech Contest orientation will be held January 20, 2018 from 2 pm at the TNKR office near Gwangheungchang. Only applicants who have gone through the orientation process and been approved will be invited to participate. All potential speech coaches are required to attend the orientation and to submit all required documents in advance.


  • One refugee per coach: In TNKR, we usually welcome tutors and coaches working with multiple refugees. The speech contest is different. This is to prevent coaches who are in contact with more than one refugee from discussing other contestants. Please recognize that some of the refugees get intimidated when they hear about other speakers or they begin to focus too much on what others will are doing.
  • This is a contest: People can approach the contest with a competitive spirit. However, note that some of the refugees have become nervous leading up to the contest, so we don’t want to cause them further discomfort.. Some have complained about the judging process, about coaches talking to other refugees about their speeches, and even about coaches telling them about other contestants. All coaches and contestants must practice professionalism
  • Submit reports: Just as with tutor reports, keep us updated about coaching sessions. The first week of August all coaches can help by sending a more general update about the development of speeches.
  • Coaching sessions: Unlike traditional TNKR classes in which we expect face-to-face meetings, we allow the use of Skype in half of coaching sessions. We still require that you keep us in written communications (Kakao, email, Facebook) and keep us updated with reports of each coaching session.

Speech Contest

  • Time limit: 10 minutes. Judges have the discretion to deduct points or disqualify any speakers exceeding the 10 minute time limit.
  • English: All speeches must be conducted in English.
  • Assistance at contest: Coaches are encouraged to assist refugees with props or PowerPoint presentations during the speech contest. This must be communicated in English
  • Dress code: Professional, of course.


  • Rubric: A rubric will be provided for the refugees in both English and Korean, and an English language version will also be provided for judges. This was designed by TNKR volunteer James Maxwell Milne and translated by TNKR volunteer Lee Eunkoo.
  • Ruling: The decisions of the judges are irreversible and made without input from TNKR leadership. Contest judges have complete authority to rule. The Chief Judge of the contest, as chosen by the judges, can choose to address the audience and explain their decision-making process after the contest has ended.

Questions and Loose ends

  • Ask TNKR’s directors: In the past, coaches have asked each other questions, but it turned out that others sometimes weren’t aware of rules and expectations for the contest. If you have a question, contact TNKR’s directors to have the correct answers to your questions.
  • English: This contest and all coaching must be conducted in English.
  • Photos and recordings: Some speakers have very good reasons not to reveal their identities or to be identified publicly as being from North Korea. During the contest, please help us police for people who want to sneak a photo of the refugees (it has happened). We will begin the contest with speakers who must shield their faces, then the final speakers will be fine with photos. No video or audio recording is allowed except by authorized TNKR staff.