The 21 century is the age of the new media. With email, mobile phones and internet applications like Youtube,Twitter and especially Facebook or Myspace the communication through the medium internet has become important. Instead of letters or postcards people decide to comment on their current situation through a short message or through an update on their Twitter status. In this way we can convey our messages very fast, widespread and convenient since it is easy to be update. But also business people have explored the positive effects of this new media. Instead of meeting in an office or mailing written statements from colleague to colleague, people meet online in a video conference or through voice chat. This trend has not only an effect on our time schedule and the media we use to convey our messages but also on the language we use. We all know that written language differs from spoken language and that people who are able to write well are not always able to communicate orally in the same quality. Spoken language differs in its structure, its vocabulary but as well in its production. When we write a paper we have time and space to state and rephrase our opinions as often as we want whereas an oral utterance cannot be corrected or made undone; and it is exactly this oral utterance that has become more important. Even in fictional writing there has been the trend to an oral literature; a literature in which oral language, i.e. dialogue, monologue or any kind of stream technique is used to tell a story. This trend towards an oral society has been acknowledged by scholars and in 2004 the Bavarian Kultusministerium saw in this trend a reason to change the curriculum for the Bavarian Gymnasium. In the year of 2007 the new state curriculum has been introduced and with this an oral examination in the foreign language. This testing was introduced with the new GSO § 54 which aim is a “gleichgewichtige Entwicklung aller kommunikativen Fähigkeiten und Fertigkeiten.” This has changed the methodology of teaching a foreign language in Bavarian schools. More stress has been put on oral testing, an oral examination has been introduced and the pupils have to deliver more presentations and are trained in debating and discussing.
The aim of this paper is to provide a theoretical framework for pupils’ presentations in classroom, which preparations have to be done in advance, and which skills the pupils have to be made familiar with so that they can perform a proper classroom presentation. Furthermore it will show how oral presentations can be assessed. The second part of this paper is a description of the practical micro-teaching experiment performed in the Fachdidaktik Oberkurs with the topic Presentations in the EFL Classroom.
I, Theoretical Part
Presentations or Prepared Talks require much time and an exhaustive planning in the lesson plan. Before any series of classroom presentations the teacher has to explain to the pupils how a presentation has to be designed, from which field of topics the pupils can choose from and most important, how the teacher is going to evaluate the presentations. At the same it is necessary that the presentations form a part of the lesson and are not unrelated to the current topic and thus wasted time. Concurrently it is very important to arise the pupils’ interest in the presentations in order to achieve adequate results. This, however, is only possible if the teacher but also the pupils plan their presentations early in advance and in consultation with each other.
1, Preparations required by the teacher
Since classroom time is precious and the curriculum is planned thoroughly so that there is hardly any time to waste it is necessary to use this presentation time to deliver important and relevant matter to the pupils. Especially a whole series of presentations that is held during the first minutes of a lesson for about two weeks can be an excellent lead in to the actual classroom content. This can only be achieved if the presentations are held in a time when the current topic provides enough topics and fields to present on. If this is guaranteed, presentations can enrich the classroom with their versatile and comprehensive references to the matter being taught. Thus it might be sensible to place presentations around a socio-cultural topic which offers a wide range of interesting presentation topics. Since the time schedule for the curriculum is rather clear at the beginning of the scholar year it is easy to announce the presentations early enough to the pupils so that they can think of topics they want to present on; although it is important that the topic is agreed on by the teacher and if necessary adapted to the classroom and curricular needs.
The next step is to prepare the pupils for their presentations. This contains theoretical information about the structure of presentations, the language skills that are required to perform well, the media used for presentations and the evaluation of their presentation. All these prerequisites are essential in order to take pupils the fear of presenting and speaking in front of others. The teacher has to keep in mind that the individual pupils are very different in regards to their abilities and their willingness to participate. On the one hand there exist eager pupils that are excited to present their work but others “are often reluctant to speak because they are shy and not predisposed to expressing themselves in front of other people, especially when they are being asked to give personal informations and opinions” (Harmer 2007, p.345). This requires a good classroom atmosphere which can be achieved if the pupils feel well prepared for their presentations and are not afraid of either negative remarks by their fellow pupils or bad marks from the teacher.
2, The structure of a presentation
A big step to take the pupils’ fears of presentations and speaking in front of their classmates is to make them familiar with the structure of a presentation and the way information should be conveyed.
A proper presentation should have the following simple but effective structure:
Welcoming the audience and introducing the topic of the presentation. Giving an outline of the structure of the presentation and phrasing the thesis statement, i.e. the point the presenter wants to state with their presentation or the message they want to convey.
A chain of arguments and examples that are used to back up the thesis statement and to convince the audience of ones statement.
A short summing up and restating the main arguments for the thesis statement in order to fully convince the audience of the points given.
With this simple framework the pupils gain a feeling of how they have to arrange their thoughts and how to present them most effectively. Furthermore they can see that a presentations consists, parallel to an essay, of three major parts that have to fit to each other and that have to be linked.
The next step is to teach the pupils how they can use visuals for their presentations. An overloaded Power Point presentation can be confusing and distracting whereas well composed visuals can help the audience to understand the thesis statement and the presenter to convince the audience of their opinion. Furthermore a proper Power Point presentation can give the audience a better understanding of the structure and provide important points of orientation for the speaker.
- Quote paper
- Sebastian Meindl (Author), 2010, Präsentationen und Referate im Englischunterricht, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/162518