Wednesday, July 05, 2006


When I teach so-called business English courses, one block of instruction is presentations. Most students---or HR departments request this. It is actually very important and done correctly helps students see that the most important part is no perfect grammar, but such things as clear, logical formation, varying intonation, rhythm, and stress are of much greater importance.

Despite this, this block is usually the time that most people skip. I often joke that if I want time off, I just mention that we will be practicing presentations and nobody will show up.

In one class for an American company, I have students of intermediate-upper intermediate levels. Last week, only one person of 4 showed up for the 2 class sessions, so I postponed the presentation practice. They were surprised this week to find out I still expected them to do it.

It has been 2 weeks of trying to get them to come up with a topic. I had to give up on brainstorming sessions, because they were going nowhere. (This is often a huge problem here, getting people to brainstorm, to think quickly and opening without immediately filtering ones ideas.)

Today, I am going to have them start on writing/outlining the presentation, whether they are prepared or not. Most are hoping to do a shallow, half-assed job. Ain't gonna work. However, as they had mentioned during the mid-course evaluation that they wanted more presentation practice, one would expect more cooperation and enthusiasm. As is often the case, one would be wrong.

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