We are pleased to inform you that the Spelling Bee registrations will be extended until the last day of January.

In order to expand its outreach to classroom students learning English as a foreign language (the ultimate beneficiaries of MEXTESOL’s mission), MEXTESOL organizes an annual national Spelling Bee, in conjunction with Merriam-Webster.

The MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee promotes spelling and vocabulary study for learners studying English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in primary and secondary schools in Mexico.

There will be two separate spelling bees on the same day: one for primary children (5th and 6th grades) and one for secondary school students (first and second year). There will be a maximum of 50 students in each contest.

MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee 2019

Rules and Guidelines

Objective: The MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee promotes spelling and vocabulary study for learners studying English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in primary and secondary schools in Mexico.

The MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee 2019 will take place on Saturday, April 6, 2019 in Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores UNAM Unidad León in León, Guanajuato.

There will be two separate spelling bees on the same day: one for primary children (5th and 6th grades) and one for secondary school students (first and second year). There will be a maximum of 50 students in each contest.

Below are specific guidelines for school and student eligibility.

  1. School requirements:

Formally established public or private schools may participate.

The Director of the school will designate a member of the school faculty, preferably an English teacher, who is also a member of MEXTESOL, to be the Liaison with MEXTESOL.

Given that the target audience for the spelling bee is non-native speaking students; that is, students studying English as a Foreign Language:

Participating schools may NOT:

  1. Be a bilingual school.
  2. Be an English-medium school; that is, have an English as a Second Language (ESL) program
  3. Have more than a total of 10 contact hours a week in English, including

English class (EFL).

The Director of the school must sign and submit an agreement letter stating that the school meets these requirements.

(If the school is later found to be ineligible, the school and its students will be disqualified.)

The names and locations of the participating schools will be posted on the MEXTESOL webpage and the final full roster will be sent to each participating school.

 

  1. Student Requirements:

Once a school’s eligibility has been approved, the school itself will identify eligible students and select those which will participate in the MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee in April, 2019. The number of participants a school may send to the Spelling Bee will depend on the total number of schools participating in the event. This will be determined the day after school registration closes. The maximum number of participants in each contest is 50. Preferably, the school will send the top winners of an internal school Spelling Bee based on the same procedures that the MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee follows.

Participating schools will be notified on January 25, 2019 of the maximum number of participants they may send to the contest in Mexico City.

  1. A participant must be a student in good standing at the approved school.
  2. The student’s birthdate is January 1, 2004 or thereafter for the secondary level contest, or January 1, 2007 or thereafter, for the primary level contest.
  3. The student must not be a native speaker of English.
  4. The student must not have any parent or legal guardian who is a native speaker of English.
  5. The student must not be a citizen of, or have dual-citizenship with any country where English is an official language.
  6. The student must not have attended school in any English-speaking country for more than six months in his or her lifetime before participating in the Spelling Bee.
  7. The student must not have attended a bilingual or English-medium school (maximum number of hours of instruction in English: 10 hours weekly) for more than six months in his or her lifetime prior to participating in the Spelling Bee.
  8. The student must not be currently taking more than 10 hours of weekly instruction in English, including the EFL class.
  9. The student must not have been a winner (first three places) of any other spelling competition on a regional or national level in Mexico, including MEXTESOL’s.

Each student must submit a participation form signed by a) the student, b) a parent or legal guardian and c) an official of the participant’s school (liaison with MEXTESOL) that affirms the student meets the above requirements.

If the student is later found to be ineligible, he or she will be disqualified.

To be fair to the student it is therefore of the utmost importance the school and student requirements be carefully reviewed, understood, and adhered to.

No student application forms will be accepted on-site at the MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee. Deadlines for participation will be strictly enforced.

 

  1. Preparation for the MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee:

 

An English Teacher at the approved schools will serve as the Liaison between the school and the MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee Organizing Committee. The Liaison must be a member of MEXTESOL.

From the moment the school is officially accepted to participate (starting December, 2018) to April, 2019 the school can officially prepare students for the Spelling Bee.

Teachers will be provided with a practice list from Merriam-Webster to be used with the students.

Teachers and students can access the online dictionary version of the Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary as reference and for study at:  http://www.learnersdictionary.com/ Please note that this website offers the pronunciation of all the words by a native English speaker. Therefore, it is recommended that teachers and students use this invaluable additional resource in preparing for the Spelling Bee.

In addition, students and teachers will be encouraged to sign up for the Merriam-Webster “Learner’s Word of the Day”– a free newsletter—to expand their spelling and vocabulary knowledge.

To register visit http://learnersdictionary.com/word-of-the-day

The Organizing Committee will make available on the MEXTESOL website any additional material or resources for teaching vocabulary and spelling to ALL participating schools.

  1. The day of the MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee 2019

The MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee will take place in León, Guanajuato, on Saturday, April 6th, 2019. MEXTESOL and Merriam-Webster will only cover onsite expenses for the event that day. Participating schools must cover their own expenses in transporting the participants to and from the event as well as cover any other expenses that may be incurred.

Parents, teachers and friends of the participants are welcome to attend. (Lunchbox, however, will be available for participant and two companions only). Indeed, MEXTESOL will require a list of those attending from each school by Friday, March 29th,  2019).

The primary school contest will take place from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The secondary school contest will take place from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m.

(The end times for each contest are approximate.)

MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee Rules and Guidelines:

 

Word Source

All spelling words for the MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee will come from Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary. Merriam-Webster will provide official word lists to the pronouncer and judges at the start of the MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee.

 

Organization of Rounds

Up to 50 registered participants may participate in the Spelling Bee in each of the two categories: primary and secondary school. Each Spelling Bee will begin with a practice round providing each participant a chance to spell a practice word. This round will not count as a competition round, but will give each participant the opportunity to review the procedure, understand the flow of the contest, and relax a little. There are no eliminations in the practice round.

In Round 1, each participant will have a chance to spell a word that is read to him or her by the pronouncer. If the participant spells the word incorrectly, he or she will be eliminated from further rounds in the event. Each participant who correctly spells a word will return to his or her seat and will continue in the next round.

Each round is completed when all participants have had a word to spell. In Round 2 and succeeding rounds, each remaining participant will have a chance to spell a word. These rounds will continue until there are three competitors remaining. The final three will then move into the championship rounds.

As the rounds progress, words other than those found on the practice lists will be used. These words will come from the Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary and will be chosen by Merriam-Webster in accordance with their experience of “fair” words for the age and proficiency levels of the students.

It is therefore important that students learn more than just the practice words and become familiar with additional useful vocabulary for their grade level.

During the championship rounds, when more than one participant is eliminated at the same time, there will be a “spell-off” in order to determine their ranking prior to moving on to the next round. When two participants are remaining, if the first participant spells his or her word incorrectly, the second participant must spell his or her word correctly in order to be declared the champion of the contest. If the word is not spelled correctly, then both participants return to the stage and the round is continued until one participant remains.

Each participant who participates in a championship round will receive a ranking from first to third place in the Spelling Bee.

 

  1. Contest Rules:

Participants are not allowed to have any writing implements or materials during the event.

At the beginning of each participant’s turn, the pronouncer will say the spelling word aloud. The participant must repeat the word back to the pronouncer. If the pronouncer feels the participant has not understood the word, the pronouncer may repeat the word, or ask the participant to repeat it until the pronouncer feels satisfied that the participant has understood the word.

If a judge feels that the pronouncer has given an incorrect pronunciation of a word, the judges will confer to reach a decision. The judges have the authority to throw a mispronounced word out, if necessary and a new word will be used.

The participant may ask the pronouncer to provide the following information for the word:

  1. A repetition of the word, or as many repetitions as necessary.
  1. An alternate pronunciation, if any.
  1. The first dictionary definition, including part of speech.
  1. An example sentence.

This information will be part of the practice word lists provided by Merriam-Webster.

The judges will request that the speller attempt to spell the word after a reasonable time has passed.

Once the word has been spelled, the pronouncer will confer with the judges and inform the participant whether the spelling was correct or incorrect. If the judges do not feel they heard the spelling correctly, they may ask the participant to repeat it. The participant may not, at this point, change his or her original spelling of the word. If the spelling was incorrect, a judge will ring the bell and the pronouncer will provide the correct spelling of the word.

The main criteria for the judges will be whether or not the participant has correctly spelled the word. For example, though it is customary for a participant to pronounce the word before and after spelling it (that is, if the spelling word is “school” the participant should say: “school, s-c-h-o-o-l, school”). Failure to say the complete word after spelling it would not be grounds for elimination; if the participant said, “school, s-c-h-o-o-l,” that would be judged correct, even though he or she did not repeat the word after giving the spelling.

The judges will eliminate a participant who starts spelling a word, pauses, then starts over and changes the original spelling given. However, the participant may retrace his or her spelling by starting over without changing the original spelling given. The following are examples of what is and is not allowed, using “school” as the spelling word:

Not allowed: “s-c-k… (pause)…s-c-h-o-o-l”

Allowed (retracing): “s-c-h… (pause)…s-c-h-o-o-l”

All decisions made by the judges are final.

 

  1. Awards and closing ceremonies:

 

After the primary school contest there will be an awards ceremony and then a brief closing ceremony. After the secondary school contest, there will be an awards ceremony and a closing ceremony for the entire event.

MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee 2019 Timeline:

  • November 5, 2018. School applications for both contests will begin to be received. If you do not receive an email confirming the reception of the application, please resend the application until you receive confirmation.
  • January 31, 2019. The status of school applications up to this date will be sent to the individual schools.
  • January 25, 2019. Deadline for receiving school application forms. (However, it is recommended that interested schools submit their applications as soon as possible).
  • January 18, 2019. Participating schools will be informed of the maximum number of participants each school may send to the Spelling Bee in Mexico City.
  • March 1, 2019. Deadline for receiving the original completed student applications from eligible schools and the original school application form.
  • March 8, 2019. The final list of participating schools and students is drawn up.
  • March 29, 2019. Deadline for receiving each participating school’s list of guests attending the Spelling Bee in Mexico City. (Two guests per participant.)
  • April 6, 2019. The MEXTESOL National Spelling Bee will be held in León, Guanajuato.

Cordially,

Organizing Committee.