Public Speaking for ESL Students | ESL Presentations

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Public Speaking for ESL Students

I LOVE teaching public speaking to my university student in Korea. My presentation classes have probably been some of the best ones I’ve taught in all my years in Korea. Here are some more details about why I like it so much.

First Things First, Buy Speaking of Speech

If you teach public speaking or presentations to middle school, high school, or university students, the first thing you should do it get yourself this textbook: Speaking of Speech: Basic Presentation Skills for Beginners. Speaking of Speech is an excellent public speaking book for ESL students.

Even students who are at a high beginner level of English can grasp the basic concepts from Speaking of Speech. It’s funny, engaging, and extremely practical. Speak of Speech takes students through three areas

  • The Physical message (gestures, eye contact, etc.)
  • The Visual message (PowerPoint)
  • The Story message (how to write an interesting speech)

Even if you don’t use the entire Speaking of Speech book, it’ll give you a good framework which to base your classes on, particularly if you’ve never taught public speaking before. ¬†Even in classes that are not dedicated entirely to public speaking or presentations, but which fall under the general umbrella of “conversation” or “whatever you want to teach,” I’ll often slip in some public speaking and presentations using Speaking of Speech.

Where can I Buy Speaking of Speech?

Speaking of Speech isn’t easy to find in bookstores, particularly outside of Asia. The best place to check is if you have a contact with Macmillan. My university bookstore was able to order in books through them for my students. The next best place to check is on Amazon:

Speaking of Speech on Amazon

Speaking of Speech Example Video

Here’s one speech from the textbook:

Public Speaking for ESL Students: 4 Reasons Why

There are a number of reasons why I like to teach public speaking to my students. Here are just a few of them:

#1: A Solid Skill

Public Speaking is a concrete set of skills which students can hold onto and use at a later date. Think job interviews, in other courses, or on the job.

#2: Increase Confidence with English

Presentations help increase confidence when speaking English. Things like eye contact and speaking loud enough are important, even in general conversation.

I like dedicating some time to this in class.

#3: Practice for Job Interviews

Presentations at job interviews are big these days in Korea. Many of the big corporations require English presentations or interviews as a way to test English ability.

#4: Mix Things Up in Class

Teacher sanity! I’d far rather listen to some (well done!) presentations for the speaking portion of a midterm or final exam than actually engage in 1-1 conversations with over a hundred students, which leaves me exhausted for weeks. Call me lazy if you must.

Apart from exams, it’s an interesting class or two during the semester when I get to sit back and listen, instead of just talking. Plus, I think the students like it too! It’s not me at the front of the class blathering away about random things.

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What Do You Think?

Do you teach presentations and public speaking at a Korean university, or around the world? Any tips or tricks for doing it well? Leave a comment below and let us know about it.

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