Posts Tagged ‘Education’


Audience (Photo credit: thinkmedialabs)

If you’re anything like most of my English students, you’re probably constantly looking for new ways to practice your oral English and speak spontaneously.

Giving a presentation can provide that platform to practice. It can also do the following:

  •  it gives the presenting student a good opportunity to practice unaided speaking
  •  it gives the other students good listening practice
  •  it increases the presenting student’s confidence when using English
  •  it can be good practice for the real situation for those students who may actually need to give presentations in English in their professional lives
  •  it is an excellent generator of spontaneous discussion

What is a presentation, anyway?
It is a verbal report presented with illustrative material, such as slides, graphs, etc.  by one person to a group of people introducing and describing a particular subject (for example: a new product, company results or a proposed advertising campaign).

For this article we are considering the use of presentations for speaking practice.

Let’s begin exploring how to prepare an English presentation to an English language class.

1.           CHOICE OF SUBJECT

The first question that goes through any student’s head when presented with this task is ‘What will I talk about?’

If you have anything of interest that you want to share with others such as: hobbies, professional activities, past holidays etc., this can be a starting point.

Sometimes when making a presentation, a student may discover a hidden talent like performing a stand-up comedian routine, or juggling act.

Everyone has an interest or skill that is particular to them and may be of potential interest to others. After having dug a little into your mind, you can record the interests on paper as you narrow down the topic of your proposed presentation.

Only if you are at a complete loss do you need to ask for help from the teacher or a friend. But be imaginative.

2.           TIME LIMIT

It need not be a long presentation, just 5 or 10 minutes, plus questions. Practice reading the presentation with a timer to determine how long it is.

Read it in a normal tone and pace. Pause after each sentence to give yourself time to breathe and most of all relax.

In reality, it is far more difficult to prepare and give a 5-minute presentation than a 20-minute one. In addition, once underway, most students very often overrun on their time.

3.           EQUIPMENT

This will be governed by your environment. The main thing is to use support material and visual aids.

The bare minimum would be a whiteboard or flipchart. If you have an Overhead projector or data show projector so much the better.

Bring in additional materials, for example wall maps or samples or other realia like tools or objects discussed in your presentation, if allowed.

 4.           PREPARATION


No doubt, preparation is the key element of any presentation. There is no getting around this one.

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. It will give you confidence on the day. You can use homework and/or classroom time for preparation. You can ask for help from the teacher to further explain what you need to speak about.

Remember that lack of preparation may lead to failure, and the last thing you want to do in front of class is to present a failure.


You may wish to read up on the principles of presentations, just to take the edge off of your nervousness.

Depending on your objective, are you giving a ‘presentation’ as an end in itself, or are you using presentations as a means to practice English? In any case, learning the value of preparation and signposting will help.

As a student, you are watching the teacher presenting all the time and probably take for granted the sheer mechanics of presentation and don’t notice the butterflies she may have before her lessons.

Learn from the presenters, and emulate them.


Remember that the objective is not to come to class, show everybody the top of your head and read a text.

The objective is speaking, admittedly prepared, but without a text.

Key words, yes! Notes, yes! But no texts, don’t read the presentation, present it.

Again, prepare your notes or keywords.

 7.           QUESTIONS

Presenters usually indicate to their audience when they will answer questions – i.e., during or after the presentation.

It may be best to encourage question-taking after rather than during the presentation.

This will give you more time for uninterrupted, unaided speech and avoid any danger of the presentation itself degenerating into a free-for-all.

A well managed Q&A session at the end of the presentation is of real value. Don’t be afraid of silence! Students need time to think of and formulate questions.

 8.           PEER FEEDBACK

Again, depending on the audience, level and culture, you may wish to invite feedback from other students on your performance.

You can give the audience a prepared feedback form, listing the points to watch out for and comment on. But be very careful, some nationalities will be unwilling to, as they see it, ‘pass judgment on’ their colleagues.

At lower levels, students may be totally deflated by such feedback. In all cases, the audience should be looking for positive points at least as much as for negative ones.

This can be a useful activity, but if in doubt, it’s probably best avoided.

The important point is that this type of verbal practice exercise should have a positive, beneficial result – Improved oral communication.

Most of all have fun doing it.

Presentations will build self confidence and give you a platform to practice speaking English.

Do you like to give presentations in any language?

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Educator eff

Educator eff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week in America.


The US Department of Education wants people to take to Facebook and Twitter and thank a teacher who made a difference in their lives. Teach Me About Teaching


There have been many teachers who made sustaining impressions on me, like my third grade teacher Ms. Woods; eighth grade science teacher Mr. Boyd; and eighth grade home room teacher Mr. Pollack. My college professors were also instrumental in shaping my views of the world, but I can’t remember their names. Isn’t it something that I can remember the teachers’ names from early childhood but not from adult education.


Anyway, here is a poem I’d like to share about teachers.



Confessions of a Teacher’s Pet


She was very beautiful

She had the widest smile

Her class was never dull

I sat in the first aisle


She let me be her helper

My classmates would frown at that

I jumped at the chance to help her

They knew it was because of where I sat


Life in her class was full of laughter and joy

When she spoke, her words came out as a song

The girls were jealous, since they were not a boy

We got to run errands, and stayed gone for twice as long



She’s old now and still beautiful

Her smile’s just as wide and plum

She still lets me help her

Because she is my Mom

©latifahafital 2011


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Fun With Dick and Jane

Fun With Dick and Jane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Growing up I heard the phrase, “See with your eyes, not with your hands.” as I tried to touch some new glittering item while shopping with my sister. ‘Look’ and ‘See‘ can be used interchangeably, sometimes, but not always.

See Dick catch up and pass Jane.

 As in the previous post – “Look Where This Is Heading”, Look involves intention or expression

On the other hand, ‘See’ involves sight, to see something that comes into our sight or perceive in our mind.

to perceive with the eyes – “Did you see her new sports car?”;

faculty of sight – “I can’t see a thing without my eyeglasses.”;

to examine or watch something – “He asked to see my ID.”;

to comprehend or understand – “ I see what you mean.”;

to realize the existence of something – “I see from your documents that you are Austrian.”;

finding a trait that is pleasing – “My father sees the good in all people.”;

to meet or consult with somebody – “I’m going to see my shrink after lunch today.”;

to meet to raise a complaint – “She asked to see the manager.”;

to picture something in the mind – “I can’t see how she does it with all of those children.”

It is easy to see how these two words can be interchangeable and confusing if not used in the right context. For new English language learners this is just a small introduction into the use of ‘Look’ and ‘See’.

Continue to ‘look’ around this site to ‘see’ what you can find that will help you in understanding and using this wonderful language we call English.

If you have any more tips on how to use ‘Look’ and ‘See’ add them to the comment section.

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