Presenting the World

2016-07-10

A paper written by me and Adam Pearson, Presenting the World: Country poster presentations, was published in The Language Teacher, a journal produced by JALT Publications. July 2016, Volume 40, No. 4, pg. 15-16. Adam and I wrote the paper in the spring of 2015. Alternate file formats: PDF & ePub. The fact sheets are here.

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Quick guide

Keywords:Presentations, peer-teaching, foreign geography, foreign culture
Learner English level:Junior high school and up
Learner maturity:Junior high school and up
Preparation time:5 minutes
Activity time:30-40 minutes
Materials:Handouts (see appendices), blackboard or projector and screen

Presentations are common activities in English conversation classes, but because gathering data is difficult and time consuming, the scope is typically quite narrow. The goal of this activity is for students to develop and deliver a presentation on a foreign country without the burden of research. A presentation can be divided into four parts: information gathering, writing, practicing, and presenting. All of these are important skills, but since doing all of them together can be overwhelming, in English as well as in one's native language, this activity removes the first step, simplifies the second, and allows students to focus on the remaining two.

Preparation

Procedure

Conclusion

If you have the time, you can do the same project with different countries a few weeks after doing it the first time. Students should be much faster the second time around. A common problem when talking about countries is improper generalization. Consider the statement, “In the U.S., people like to eat pizza.” That's not entirely true, because many people don't. It would be better to say, “Pizza is popular in the U.S.” By carefully choosing how we display the information on the posters, teachers help students avoid this kind of pitfall and simultaneously provide examples of ways to properly make large-scale observations. The vocabulary that students need to deliver these presentations is taught in JHS 3 and above. However, if the topic is changed from “countries” to “foreign schools” or “celebrities”, and new posters are carefully created, the same general procedure can be used with JHS 1 and 2 students.

Appendices

The appendices are available from the online version of this article at <jalt-publications.org/tlt/departments/myshare>.


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