Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Interesting Results from my Presentation Class

This semester, I taught a presentation class for the first time, and actually it was only my second time teaching a content course (the first one was a social issues class last year). Yesterday was our last class, and as kind of a wrap up, I got the students to share with the class something they really liked, or something they learned from the class. And then something that they found challenging/difficult or didn't like. And I'm also reading their journals too, where they had to talk about similar kinds of stuff.

Surprisingly, almost all the students mentioned that doing speeches in English was quite difficult and that for some, it was the first time they'd ever spoken English in front of a large group or in front of Koreans.  And, some of them mentioned learning a lot of new vocabulary as well, which was interesting.  Neither the actual English, nor the vocab were a focus of anything I did for this class.  I didn't correct a single grammar mistake the entire time (purposely!)

I expected most of them to say that standing up in front of people, or that something like speaking loudly, or using gestures was what they found difficult. But, not really.

Anyway, the learning vocab/improving their English ability kind of makes sense if you take into account Stephen Krashen's comprehensible input theory. The students in this class listened to a total of about 120 speeches (!!!), all at their own level. That's A LOT OF input and it makes sense that they'd learn some new vocabulary this way. Interesting.

Another thing that the students mentioned was that they were happy to have a skill to take them with in the future, for job interviews, presentations in other classes, at work, etc.

If you're looking for a textbook to use when teaching presentations or public speaking, by far my favorite one is Speaking of Speech: Basic Presentation Skills for Beginners. It's at an ideal level for university students in Korea and covers all the basics.

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