Presenting as Performance: Painless Practices for Presentation in Foreign Languages
AbstractPresenting is a complex task for language learners. It requires them to acquire and read material, extract main points and express them in their own words in the target language, listen to other presenters and react appropriately with good questions and comments – and, of course, speak out loud while presenting. Language learners activate all these skills on a daily basis in the language classroom. However, speaking out loud in front of a group about one specific topic for an extended period of time is usually not part of the daily routine and therefore demands special attention, care, and action. This article models a sequence for preparing, planning, practicing, delivering, and evaluating presentations and briefly discusses the role of visual slides, but focuses on speaking exercises and explains how they strengthen the presenters both as language learners and as performers. Two theater theories form the backbone to these exercises: Konstantin Stanislavski’s “system”, and Keith Johnstone’s improvisation theater concept of status.The article describes each step of a practice sequence, including warm-up exercises, prompts for constructive peer feedback, and rubrics for (self-)evaluation, and reflects on the overall benefits of their inclusion in the language classroom.
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