Over the years teaching in a Korean university, I’ve had students do plenty of solo and group presentations. Here are my top presentation project ideas with a bit of advice on how to make them work for you.
Each student has to choose from a variety of topics such as “family” or “hobby.” They had to speak for between 1.5 and 2 minutes. I did this only once, with low-level students and it was so boring that I never did it again. All the presentations were basically the same. “I have a mom. She is 46 years old. She has black hair and black eyes. I have a dad. He is 47 years old. He has black hair and black eyes. He is tall.” Trust me, they were some of the most tedious and excruciating hours of my entire life.
How to teach public speaking, in a far more awesome way.
A Presentation and Discussion Time
The group had to give a presentation about a topic of their choosing and think of at least 5 interesting questions/surveys/activities that groups could discuss or do for about 30 minutes after their presentation.
This presentation project ideas had varying results, since some groups chose a topic that led to a lot of “yes/no” answers and discussions that lasted about 2 minutes. However, this could have been avoided by approving the topics in advance and requiring groups to submit their assignment for feedback a week or two before the actual presentation. The duds were mostly my own fault!
A Poster Presentation
Each group had to choose a current issue (like environmental pollution, celebrity suicide, North Korea) and make a poster that had English writing and some interesting pictures. Set a(low) maximum number of words, or your posters will be terrible! Then, they had to do a presentation based on the poster where each group member spoke for 2 minutes, without a paper.
If I ever did this again, I would do something where the audience was more involved, such as peer grading. Or, I would require each group watching the presentation to think of at least 1 question to ask and they’d get a point for doing so.
More ideas for the classroom: Task Based Language Learning
A PowerPoint Presentation
This has the potential to be very interesting, or PPT death. It all depends on how you set the presentation project up. If you do go with this method, you should set a maximum number of slides and also a maximum numbers of words per slide (maybe 10?). Emphasize to students that you want to see pictures, charts, etc. and not a page of text.
Teach students how to make good PPTs and then penalize heavily for not following your recommendations. You should also coach students on how to stand to the side and still keep their body pointed towards the audience.
If you want to teach presentations to ESL students, you’ll need this most awesome of books:
Trust me, it’ll make your life way easier and happier.