Why this Project

"I don't think in Higher Education we give enough advice about how to present things. We just say 'Present your material' - we never teach students how they should do it." WL

" The written essay is important in terms of knowledge but presentation, to be able to go in a room, be confident, be able to talk to people, be able to express yourself clearly and directly is perhaps more important." WL

I have taught presentation skills to international students at Marjon for many years. We have filmed presentations and made the recordings available to the presenters as a record of their strengths and weaknesses. Most students have similar problems in their presentations, so I wanted to collect audiovisual samples which would illustrate these general problems and suggest how to avoid them.

To make the project usable across the University College, we decided to film native-speaker English students as well, and discovered that they also had problems with presentations, sometimes the same ones as international students, but with a whole set of their own on top. Whilst international students worry about drying up - because they have a limited ability and experience of maintaining what is essentially a monologue in English - native speakers find that relying on their own fluency, of always finding something to say, creates other problems. Presentations are now part of the formal assessment of course modules, yet both teachers and students risk underestimating the importance of mastering the medium of presentations. Students clearly do not all receive as much guidance as they need.