P is for Pecha Kucha

20 01 2013

What is PechaKucha 20×20?

PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.

(from the official Pecha Kucha website)

Strategies kitchen reduced

Cooking, Strategies style (1975)

Pecha kuchas have become regular events at ELT conferences, ever since Lindsay Clandfield introduced the genre at the IATEFL Conference in Exeter in 2008, and where I had the dubious honour of being one of the presenters. My 20 times 20 seconds of fame was called Eating for Specific Purposes, and dealt with the way that food, and specifically recipes, have been portrayed in ELT coursebooks over the years. That gives you an indication of the kind of (often fairly frivolous) topics that are the subject of pecha kuchas, which are typically staged as an evening entertainment, not unlike a Victorian parlour game.

But when I was asked to do a pecha kucha at the KOTESOL conference in Seoul last October, I chose a topic that was a little more ambitious: a sort of potted history of second language acquisition (SLA) theory in alphabetical order (a nod both to the book, An A-Z of ELT, and the eponymous blog). I also wanted to reduce the amount of text on the slides to a minimum: in my experience 20 seconds a slide doesn’t allow for a whole lot of cognitive processing, especially when the presenter is talking nineteen to the dozen, as one tends to do.

Well, this is the result, kindly made available by KOTESOL. What do you think?

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77 responses

20 01 2013
Joanne Sato

Without doubt the best PK I have ever seen!

20 01 2013
Phil

Definitely!!

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks, Jo and Phil … you of course were both present at the ‘dress rehearsal’ in Hamamatsu a week before – where the ‘ambiente’ was quite different I have to say!

20 01 2013
Phil

Hi Scott! Thanks for posting this, and thanks to those at KOTESOL for making this available! (Funnily enough, I was just talking about this the other day with a mutual friend and colleague!)

I had the great pleasure of seeing this at the iTDi MASH Dinner at JALT, also in October 2012, and the first word that honestly came to mind was, “Genius!”

It really was a masterly-crafted Pecha Kucha (sorry, Scott, if you you’re blushing by now!) and thoroughly enjoyable a second-time around here now, too.

At the time, I also remember thinking that it would have been superb to have seen at the beginning and end of my MA studies (or some other teacher development course, such as the DELTA), as an interesting exercise in seeing how one’s knowledge and understanding of the content grew as a result.

Lastly, I wonder if the people at RSA Animate might be interested in illustrating it…could be very cool! B-)

http://www.thersa.org/events/rsaanimate

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks Phil… another interesting exercise (on an MA, say) would be to ask the students (either before or after viewing my own attempt) to make their own shortlist of topics that best capture their ‘theory’ of SLA (not necessarily in alphabetical order) and present it to their peers – again, not necessarily as a PK – although the format does concentrate the mind!

20 01 2013
Phil

Nice idea!

On a related note, a colleague and I have been mulling over the idea of getting our EFL students here in Japan to do Pecha Kucha’s as an alternative to the more usual ppt or poster presentation. Whilst we can see that it has it definitely challenges, it might also get them away from typically reading slides or notes ;-)

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Yes, I think there’s something in this: I’m all for having students prepare presentations (I do that with my MA students) but it’s difficult to convince them that the best presentations are spoken, not read, and that the best powerpoints are visual rather than textual. Maybe instituting PK rules would help. I’d love to know how you get on, if you were to try this.

21 01 2013
gotanda

I had great luck doing pecha-kucha style presentations with students in a sort of required-elective course last year. (Students had to take one of four courses assigned somewhat by choice, but then just to make the schedule work. Sadly, that course was discontinued in a university reorganization, so only two iterations of the class.) Students did 3 PKs over the semester, but not “pure” PKs. There was an assigned general theme and they were scaffolded up. The theme of the course was “The Futurist” and we looked at possible futures and students speculated on their own. PK 1 was a past trend, PK2 was extending that trend into the future, PK3 was how that future would change their lives and how they might respond.

We didn’t start 20*20, but went in steps. 10*10 for PK1, 15*15 for PK2, 20*20 for PK3. Students could recycle 3 slides from the previous PK. Plenty of individual practice in between and lots of work sketching on paper before hitting the PC. I sent them all auto-timed, image-only, no-text templates and demonstrated several examples. They also watched other PKs and some TED talks. There was a little “presentation zen lite” as well. How to search for nice, big, Creative Commons images on Flickr to drop in the templates was important too.

It generally worked well. I was strict about no notes from the very beginning and students had to submit slideshows one week in advance. The 10*10 was bite-sized enough that every student could do well and everyone could present in one course period. Even this mini PK showed that the usual mechanical memorization and recitation was not going to work well. 15*15 stretched the students a bit. 20*20 was a big step for many of them, but they all made it through and everyone enjoyed the shows. Some of them really got into it and they realized how different a presentation could be from 50 slides with 8 bullet points each.

If I had it to do over again, I might just do several 10*10s and then one or two 15*15s depending upon the students. If I get an appropriate course in the future, I will definitely try it again. It was a lot of fun (which was important for a required elective, period 1 on Wednesdays).

22 01 2013
Marcos Benevides

I often use a modified PK format in class as well, along the lines of gotanda’s, to great effect. One key to managing a smooth preparation stage is to prepare a .ppt template with the automatic transitions, timing, and number of slides already set, and then just send students the file.

I usually have them start with 10 slides at 10 seconds each, and instruct them to use no more than one photo or graphic, and no more than 3 words per slide. Then we move up to 20X20.

It’s an excellent way to structure fluency practice, as well, of course as focusing on various presentation skills.

22 01 2013
Phil

Thanks gotanda and Marcos for sharing the ‘how’ of doing PKs in your EFL classes. Actually, I’ll be teaching a new class on “Production & Fluency” next year so these will come in very useful. Much appreciated!

22 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks for these great ideas. It’s reassuring to know that there is ‘life after Pecha Kucha’, i.e. it’s more than a slightly whacky conference entertainment.

22 01 2013
Charles Rei

To echo some of the other replies, I have also starting using PK in a few of my in-company classes, but for quite different reasons.

1. They were already proficient at giving presentations following their company and field conventions. But these could be improved.
2. They were nearly all guilty of being long-winded and could use some practice in being concise and targeted with their message.
3. They were failing to exploit images and simple diagrams in their traditional presentations… the slides were text heavy and suffered from information overload.
4. Most did not consider their audience when preparing presentations.

As upper level learners I needed to find a challenging format. I started by giving them a demonstration (mine was on assigning various types of meaning to new lexis). After the PK we discussed what elements of the format could / should be transferred to their everyday presentations. Their list was:
– brief and poignant
– clear message
– body language
– better slide design (but no so far as reducing them to a conceptual image)

All-in-all, a good series of lessons. High enjoyment… lessons learned. It wasn’t for all classes, but met the needs of these select groups.

4 03 2013
Tiana

Hi Scott, I have just seen this amazing video of yours on SLA and I have to say it was the first time I had heard of a pecha kucha and had seen someone doing it. What an outstanding performance Scott! I loved it! I myself am very interested in SLA and as I happen to have methodology classes with uni students, I thought this could be a great exercise for them ;) They are getting ready for their state examinations in the English language and have to go through some topics, and obviously, one of them is theory of SLA. That sort of an exercise might actually help them remember the issue better. Btw, I love the format, I find it stimulating and challenging. So thanks Scott for a great video and an interesting tip for an exercise.

20 01 2013
thesecretdos

Astonishingly brilliant, cognitively demanding, eruditely funny, ginormously helpful, inspirationally jocular, knowledge-lacing marathon, no other person quantifies research so thoroughly (unless Vygotsky was exhumed: yikes, ZOMBIES!).

20 01 2013
Emma Lay

Brilliant!

20 01 2013
Marcos Benevides

Move over, Slim Shady–MC A-Z is in the house! ;-)

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks Marcos… I had to google the reference, I’m embarrassed to admit.

20 01 2013
James Quartley

Hi Scott,

Great that you’re back after the summer/autumn pause.

I like this format and it has been popularised worldwide by Ignite (http://www.http://igniteshow.com). There is a good ‘how to’ talk by Scott Berkun (http://igniteshow.com/videos/how-and-why-give-ignite-talk). One good tip is to show the same slide twice in succession -’hack the format’ as he says- which would help with your audience’s cognitive processing.

As to your presentation, I think you do a good job. I can see the attraction and unity of the A-Z (apart from your celebrated treatment of all things ELT in such a fashion), it forced you to reclassify ideas with ‘new terms’ so they would fit the alphabetical structure, which made, for example, the ‘social’ dimension become ‘environment and ecology’. I found that with some of the familiar SLA metalanguage changed or missing, I wanted to reclassify/rename your slides, but that is more demonstrative of the hold that terminology has over my classification of the subject, than any problem with your presentation. New terms meant that I had to listen fully, rather than for the familiar metalanguage signposts.

It was a fun, fresh way to summarise a complex topic.

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks for the comment, James. As I suggested to Phil above, the exercise of creating one’s own A-Z is quite illuminating – and might make an interesting discussion task in a training context. I don’t know how many times I re-tweaked my own list. (A useful exercise on long haul flights, too!)

20 01 2013
Irene Vlazaki

Thank you Scott, it was a great presentation.

20 01 2013
Marc Helgesen

Not only is the PK brilliant (deep, beautiful in simplicity, … superlative, superlative, superlative, etc.), the editing the KoTESOL people did was the best I’ve ever seen.

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Yes, Marc – they did a great job, and one that I hope will be emulated in future conference recordings.

20 01 2013
RAS

Quite brilliant! I just wonder, what other formats are also available out there? And how to get hold of them?

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Other formats? I’m intrigued by the idea of ‘Powerpoint karaoke’, although perhaps as a training tool (for fluency) rather than as a conference entertainment.

20 01 2013
Kathy

Powerpoint karaoke for fluency practice … Interesting idea! I loved the video, especially the minimalist slides. Found myself guessing what letters would be skipped, which added an element of mystery.

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Yes, Kathy, I also lost track – momentarily – of what was coming next – as I think you can see! That’s part of the fun of PKs, I think – the way the audience is witness to, and shares in, the speaker’s adrenalin rushes! I suspect that PowerPoint karaoke would raise the stakes even higher.

22 01 2013
gotanda

Pecha Flickr is a fun, instant PK karaoke/fluency game. It grabs photos off of Flickr according to tags. Use the advanced options to alter the number of slides/time per slide. Also good as just a quick set or visual prompts for fluency writing/timed writing or casual discussion with a bit of surprise to it.

http://pechaflickr.cogdogblog.com/

As always, random images from Flickr can be a bit risky, but with judicious (or even less than judicious) tag choices, I haven’t run into any NSFW pecha flickrs yet.

22 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Great tip, Ted – thanks for that. (Why am I still amazed that somebody has not only thought of creative uses of technology, but has designed a tool to expedite it!?) ;-)

20 01 2013
Emma Lay

Wow, this would be great to show Deltees! Loved it! I like ‘Dogme is TBL without the architecture’. I’m going to check out ‘point of need’, thanks Scott!

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks, Emma. For more on ‘point of need’ check out this post: P is for Point of Need.

12 02 2013
David Warr

The notes I frantically scribbled were “dogme is task-based learning without the tasks!”

20 01 2013
Nicky Hockly

Nice job! Now I can ditch that large Howatt & Widdowson tome- this says it all, and in 6 mins to boot!

20 01 2013
Nick Bilbrough

What I like about Pecha Kucha is how the strict system which is imposed (20 slides, 20 seconds) brings out a certain creativity in expression. You’ve gone one step further here by imposing a further constraint (ordering things alphabetically) and this makes it fascinating to watch. Brilliant! It’s rather like the old improvisation activity where A and B have a conversation where each turn has to begin with the letters in order of the alphabet..

A: Are you OK?
B: Better than I was yesterday
A: Cat still being sick all the time?
B: Dog’s doing it too now……etc

I’m very interested in the way that systems and rules can push us into thinking and using language in innovative ways and I think there are formats in which this can come out in the classroom. We used to talk a lot about the need for controlled practice but this is more like an out of control practice activity. Out of control in the sense of challenging us to scan all of the language that we have at our disposal to see what we can use, but also in the sense of escaping from the system that is in force. And a great escape is always fun to watch!

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks for the comment, Nick. Yes, the strictures of the PK format prove the point that creativity is often a function of formal constraints – think of the sonnet! That is to say, the more hurdles you put in the way of the artist, the more creative he/she becomes. This is wonderfully demonstrated by the astounding creations of the Oulipo group, one of whose founding members, Georges Perec, wrote a whole novel (in French) without once using the letter ‘e’. Even more astounding , it was translated into English (by Gilbert Adair) under the same constraint. I suspect the Oulipo group would have approved of the pecha kucha, while finding it maybe a little too free for their tastes!

20 01 2013
Nicky Hockly

Actually, now I think about it, that purple Rod Ellis tome on SLA can go as well ;-)

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Haha, Nicky – yes I never did like that purple cover!

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks, Nicky.
(I should add that Nicky was one of that first merry band of pecha kucha pioneers at Exeter in 2008!)

20 01 2013
Dominique

Given in your usual succinct style – loved it! :)

20 01 2013
barryjameson

I felt privileged to be in attendance for this. Enjoyed all the Pecha Kucha presentations that evening, but this was the highlight.

20 01 2013
isabelgb

Brief, brilliant, breathtaking!!!! Thank you!

20 01 2013
Adam Simpson

I’ve somehow managed to never attend a PEcha Kucha. Be honest: am I really missing out?

20 01 2013
Phil

I’ve see about 20~30. Just like any other presentation format (or book or article), I think you get the good, the bad, and the ugly, but this one was a gem ;-)

20 01 2013
Marco Brazil

Hi, Scott! Outstanding PK, so may I post it on my wall? I’m sure my teachers will love to hear hear you. Great thing!

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

By all means, Marco – feel free!

20 01 2013
Hada Litim

Hi Scott! How great to be reading your weekly post again and this one couldn’t have come at a better time. I was reading through the Nile TESOL conference programme and wondering what to attend – I’d never heard of 20X20 before and was intrigued, so now this post’s helped me make up my mind – now I know where I’ll be Jan 28th, and that’s at the Mary Cross Hall, trying to learn more on PK. See you there, perhaps :)

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks Hada – looking forward to it. But I won’t be doing a PK at Cairo (unless there’s something they haven’t told me!) – just a ‘normal’ talk.

21 01 2013
Hada Litim

Indeed you’re not! :) One of the event coordinators is, Rehab Ragab. Your presentation was so inspiring, I really want to hear/learn more on PK now and see if/how it can be used in the classroom, either by teachers or students.

20 01 2013
youssef Tirizite

Impressive performance, Scott. Your presentation has confirmed the conventional wisdom that less is more.
Looking forward to seeing in Marrakech.

Youssef

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks, Youssef. Yes, indeed, less IS more, and the ‘theory’ behind pecha kuchas – that you can say just as effectively in 6 minutes what you could say in 60 – is something that we need to be reminded of. Nor do you need a great deal of ‘machinery’ to make your point. One of the reasons I think that the TED talks are so popular is that the format requires speakers to make their point in a relatively short space of time, using (usually) minimal means. (Looking forward to Marrakech!)

20 01 2013
Begum Kut

It’s impressive as usual Scott. Thank you.

20 01 2013
Steven Nishida

Well done, Scott. Enjoyed this thoroughly!

BTW: A couple years ago after a MASH event in Osaka, we were talking about Dogme and I mentioned that the underlying logic bears an uncanny resemblance to the Australian philosopher JL Mackie’s theory of contributory causal factors (which he calls INUS conditions). It was a loud and crowded restaurant, so I promised to send you a link, but never got ’round to it until now (apologies!):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INUS#Necessary_and_sufficient_causes

The parallel IMHO is as follows: Even in direct causal relationships, there is no single ‘necessary and sufficient factor’ that brings about a given event. This is true also of learning. Try as we may, we will never pinpoint a single textbook, method, approach, environment, technology, or technique that maximizes learning for all learners in all situations. Certainly, we can identify very helpful contributing factors, but the teachers who are able to maximize learning the most frequently will not be those who follow a specific method or curricular approach, but rather those who consistently prod, challenge, encourage, and listen to their students, adjusting their teaching approach in reactionary fashion along the way. Of course, this means that teachers who follow a Dogme-like approach will be best served by a broad base of theoretical knowledge and practical experience as they ‘modify-on-the-fly’ during a given lesson or course, which in turn means that a life-long commitment to learning and honing is highly recommended.

Just some food for thought:-)

Thanks again for the excellent PK above, and apologies once again for taking two years to get in touch!

20 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks, Steven, and thanks for the link and reminder. In fact, it comes at a very good time, as I am embarking on a project that requires I take a very broad-brush view of teaching, i.e. that there is no ‘single necessary and sufficient factor’ that causes learning. I hope that the PK didn’t give that impression either!

20 01 2013
Stephanie

I never thought a presentation about SLA could make me laugh and this surely did. Many thanks, as it also reinforced input from the MA Applied Linguistics and TEFL I did last year (R is for repetition…).

20 01 2013
swisssirja

Wow. That was a wonderful performance! I remember a seminar back in 2004 in Switzerland where we were all under your spell :-)
Back to Switzerland any time soon???

20 01 2013
Walid

Hello from Algeria,
I’m preparing my PhD thesis on Textbook Evaluation, can you help me prof. Scott in this task. Would you suggest some recommendation on how to better make use of English textbooks in the next entry T for Textbook Evaluation.
Thanks very much

21 01 2013
Emmanuel Bathalomew

An exquisite rendition garnished with style. I love it!

21 01 2013
Di

Thanks for this. Unfortunately I couldn’t entirely appreciate it because I am not well enough acquainted with the theories you refer to. 20 seconds for a concept I hadn’t heard of before was naturally too brief, and you spoke so fast that it was difficult to take in what you said. Possibly non-natives of English would have even more trouble?.
This is not any kind of criticism, my intention is to point out that the appeal of this PK may be limited to those already in the know and not to chalk-face teachers who try and keep abreast with didactics and methodology in their “spare” time…
. Your approach was not to remind your learners of 20 concepts in isolation but to string them together into a history of the development of SLA and I found that the alphabetical approach did not always lend itself to this.

21 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks for your (dissenting) comment, Di, and it’s useful to be reminded that concision doesn’t necessarily make for coherence. You’re right in suggesting that the ‘genre’ – by allowing only 20 seconds a slide – is in danger of stretching the brain’s processing capacity to breaking point (which is one reason why I wanted to reduce to a minimum the text on the slides). In fact, I have seen PKs where the slides have been nothing but images, and where the delivery was measured, even leisurely, proving that you don’t have to speak ‘nineteen to the dozen’, and that, to do so, might in fact be counterproductive. Why, after all, attempt to condense 60 minutes’ content into 6? I shall bear this in mind next time I prepare one!

21 01 2013
Di

Dear Scott,
You took my comment in the spirit in which it was meant, so that’s fine. I recently took part in a webinair arranged by a big examination provider. There were two experts doing the presenting. One condensed a lecture (or what sounded like a PhD dissertation!) into 20 minutes by dint of talking very fast and the other had a regional accent which took some getting used to. Unfortunately the “after-sales-service” i.e. a discussion forum didn’t get off the ground, so it wasn’t possible for me to find out if others had had difficulty in understanding what they were talking about.
Your PK was not nearly as troublesome in this respect, but I do think that some presenters forget that what they have prepared carefully is the concentrated form of their studies/experience/research of many years and cannot be immediately understood by someone hearing it (and their voice) for the first and only time.
There is a big difference between the complexity of texts we offer our students as LC and as RC , isn’t there?

21 01 2013
Divya

Dear Scott,

In one of the reviews of the Black Swan when it first shook everyone up I remember them describing Nassim Nicholas Taleb as a superhero who leaps into the mind… that description really stayed with me..

and watching you just now made me experience what having the mind leapt into feels like. Fantastic PK, thank you:)

Divya

21 01 2013
chazpugliese

Rhetorical fireworks, Scott, thanks for posting. I can certainly see and appreciate the creative aspects of it, but I think the format is more suitable in other fields. After all, it’s not a coincidence that PK were first created by designers to speak about their work. What bothers me is that the speaker de facto has to leave out some key points and/or assume a great deal of shared knowledge. That’s the nature of the exercise. Now, deciding what goes in and what’s best left out is in itself an interesting exercise, but the danger would be to oversimply content. Personally, I don’t want to go to a talk and be fed tidbits of knowledge. LIstening to a talk is a learning opportunity and I want the “whole” story, not a watered down, incomplete version of it because the format doesn’t allow otherwise. And if possible, I want to participate by asking questions, making comments, etc. (Incidentally, the whole story can be told in a snappy 20 minutes, as the guys on TED do). So, while I see the brilliance in Scott’s perrformance (no surprises here), I have my reservations about the value of PK in education. And I’ll just stop harping on.

21 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks Chaz … your comment echoes some of my own concerns about the PK format, and I think you’re right that it’s not the best vehicle for a teacher training session, not least because – as you say – it doesn’t allow for any real interaction (although I have seen some PKs that successfully integrated an audience response from time to time).

Incidentally, no one has pointed out (or dared point out!) the glaring contradiction between this post (P for Pecha kucha) and my previous one (T for Transmission), in that the PK that I did in Seoul is 100% transmissive, its only virtue being its brevity perhaps!

On the other hand, learning to be economical with one’s resources is probably quite good training for speakers (I’ve learned a lot from both doing and watching them) but maybe there are better, less speaker-fronted, ways of honing presentation skills.

21 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

PS. Maybe the fascination of PKs is akin to Dr Johnson’s comment about women preachers, viz, “A woman preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all”. ;-)

21 01 2013
chazpugliese

The speaker’s challenge (or rather, THIS speaker’s challenge): how can I share content in terms of human hopes, fears, intentions or other emotions?

22 01 2013
Rob

Nicely done, Scott. I was reminded of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues – PowerPoint unplugged? – and I found myself returning to the 7:01-minute mark more than once. ;-)

Imagine New York City without the influence of Robert Moses. It would be a city more about street life and local interaction, less about the automobile. I think, as you and others imply, Pecha Kucha might be more about getting from A to Z quickly, in fun, performance art fashion, than it is about teasing out truth.

But so what, right?

“Don’t follow leaders
Watch your pawking metaws!”

Rob

22 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

“Pecha Kucha might be more about getting from A to Z quickly, in fun, performance art fashion, than it is about teasing out truth.”

Yes, nicely put, Rob. (The Z-slide was dedicated to you of course! ;-) )

22 01 2013
Polish translators

First time I’ve heard about pecha kucha! At first I found this idea ridiculous, but after all, it might be a great exercise to learns to be precise, concise, brief and straight-forward. Thanks for giving a hint for in-class activity.

23 01 2013
Laura Adele

Hi Scott,

This was very entertaining! Thanks for sharing. I was impressed at how it all linked so well together, especially considering how large of a topic this can be. My only feedback has to do with the speed of the presentation. There were some moments where It was hard for me to focus because I felt like I didn’t have enough time to process the information. This might just be because of the topic itself and the fact that it isn’t a light subject. Still a fabulous presentation!

24 01 2013
eltcriticalmoments

Great performance Scott, demonstrating that Pecha Kucha is an excellent format for fluency and linking and timing. I find TV weather presenters interesting, how they work within a strict time limit, picking up autocue lines while gesturing at constantly changing weather moving behind them. And all the time smiling to camera, because weather has to be fun. Cloud bubbles up, cold fronts muscle in, the temperature falls by a whisker and high ground gets a dusting of snow. This must be very confusing for learners of English who are waiting for a reference to cats and dogs!

In fairness, the BBC World channel adapts their weather information for a global audience, but here presenters have to be alert because they are standing in front of a fast-moving world and one moment they are describing sunny Rio, and the next they’ve been moved on to Moscow. If they hesitate they’re lost! I’m working on an idea for a PK along these lines, showing the English language spreading globally, and exploring the possibility of ‘weather variations’ in that process. Bubbling up or muscling in?

Tom

25 01 2013
Scott Thornbury

Hi Tom – thanks for the comment. You’re right: TV weatherpeople show an amazing capacity to talk fluently to a very fluid multimodal back-projection, and I’ve often wondered how much they rehearse each ‘performance’ and/or how much autocue support they’re getting. I commend your idea of adapting this format to a PK. Might also be something that students could do, too?

31 01 2013
Lucy Blakemore (@LucyBlakemore)

Think it’s all been said in previous comments, but PK is one of my favourite devices so couldn’t resist an addition. Have used and recommended in classrooms and staffrooms for almost 3 years now and it continues to function well in particular as a fluency practice activity across many levels. Lots of potential for practising all sorts including hesitation devices, false starts, vague language, extending and contracting anecdotes and other aspects of ‘natural’ fluent speech. I’ve also used it as a course-closer exercise where students present 10 x 20 second slides on a given topic (‘What I’ve learned about living in Australia’, ‘My experience of learning English’ etc) and it makes for a really energising and rewarding session with students – they often don’t realise how capable and expressive they are until put under pressure!
Also using next month as a device for sharing practical, bitesize PD on a given topic at a new PD event in Sydney: http://www.meetelt.com.au – can’t wait to see what local teachers will come up with :-)

1 02 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks, Lucy – great to hear that you have been using PKs with such success! Your use of them recalls the 4-2-1 technique for developing fluency, i.e. talk to your partner for four minutes on a topic, then repeat the task in only two minutes, and finally in one. Each successive telling is expected to show gains in fluency but no real loss of content.

2 02 2013
Phil

Popular variations are 5-4-3 and 4-3-2, although in reality with my learners, 3, 2.5, 2 has tended to work better or 120s, 90s, 60s as suggested by Marc Helgesen. Whatever the timing, however, the principle remains the same of course, and Paul Nation offers a nice summary of conditions for fluency developing activities:

“1. The learners take part in activities where all the language items are within their previous experience. This means that the learners work with largely familiar topics and types of discourse making use of known vocabulary and structures.
2. The activity is meaning focused. The learners’ interest is on the communication of a message and is subject to the ‘real time’ pressures and demands of normal meaning-focused communication (Brumfit, 1984, p.56-57).
3.There is support and encouragement for the learner to perform at a higher than normal level. This means that in an activity with a fluency development goal, learners should be speaking and comprehending faster, hesitating less, and using larger planned chunks than they do in their normal use of language.”

http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/about/staff/publications/paul-nation/1996-Four-strands.pdf

2 02 2013
Scott Thornbury

Thanks, Phil – even as I wrote 4-2-1, I was having doubts! But, as you suggest, it doesn’t really matter what the proportions are, the point is to develop fluency but not at the expense of content. It would seem that the pecha kucha provides just such a frame.

22 02 2013
Faten Romdhani

You’re Great Sir! I am learning much from you !!!Wish I could attend a session given by you alive! Till then, I’m grateful to technology !!! Zillion thanks !!!!

14 03 2013
Sandy

I look forward to hearing you speak in the near future. 4 weeks in the classroom wasn’t enough.

4 04 2013
Fendy

I’m not sure what petcha kucha (comes from the word “chatterbox” In Japanese) has to do with the A, B, C’s but I like the innovative approach – though touching on definitions isn’t an approach that goes into much depth.
“J” could have been “jumped”rather than “skipped”.
Anyway, I thought it was Rather Striking To Use Verbal Words (eXpressions) 4Your Zpeech! :)

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