Academic Presenting and Presentations - Averil Bolster - ebook

Academic Presenting and Presentations ebook

Averil Bolster



This Teacher’s Book is the companion to Academic Presenting and Presentations (ISBN 978-3-7347-8367-8), a training course designed to help students cultivate academic presentation skills and deal with the various presentation tasks they may be required to fulfil during the course of their university studies. The material is suitable for a global audience and can be used in a wide range of contexts in the fields of Communication Skills, English Language Teaching and English for Academic Purposes. In addition to providing valuable notes on each unit, the Teacher’s Book contains key information on the underlying principles, concept and structure of the course and sets out the rationale behind its design. Teachers, and through them their students, can benefit from the depth of the insights presented here, making the classroom experience a rewarding and enjoyable one. Academic presentations can be particularly challenging for non-native English speakers and consequently, the print material and the accompanying video recordings dovetail neatly to provide linguistic support and guidance as well as enhancing presentation skills and providing a forum for practice, feedback and ongoing improvement. However, broader topics of interest appropriate to a study-oriented context, such as research and plagiarism, are also dealt with in a unique balance of content that goes beyond the treatment of discrete language points and emphasises high-level task achievement whilst at the same time focusing attention on the specific requirements of addressing an audience in an academic environment.

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Further components in this series

Student’s Book

ISBN 978-3-7347-8367-8

Downloadable videos

Video DVD

[email protected]



Concept and Structure


Learning Presentations

Sample Presentations

Unit 1 Introduction to Presentations

Unit 2 What is an Academic Presentation?

Unit 3 Presenting a Paper

Project Introduction – Approaching a Topic

Unit 4 Elevator Pitch Poster Presentations

Unit 5 Persuasive Presentations

Unit 6 Presenting Progress

Project Review – Giving a Progress Presentation

Unit 7 Problem/Solution Presentations

Unit 8 Research Presentations

Project Presentation – Giving a Final Presentation




“I hope I remember everything,” said Toni.

“You won’t,” said Trapp. “That’s how you learn.”

Louis Sachar, The Cardturner


Academic Presenting and Presentations is a training course designed to help students cultivate academic presentation skills and deal with the various presentation tasks they may be required to fulfil during the course of their university studies. The material in the Student’s Book is suitable for a global audience and can be used in a wide range of contexts in the field of EAP (English for Academic Purposes), since it helps develop presentation skills and also deals with broader topics of interest in a study-oriented context such as research and plagiarism. The material emphasises higher level task-achievement rather than discrete language points since experience shows that this is the area that most students find especially difficult.

A key tenet of the course is that effective presentation skills alone will not lead to a successful academic presentation. As well as technical presentation skills, students will also have to appreciate the key features of academic presentations (such as soundness of argument and use of referenced support) and also be aware of the expectations of different genres of academic presentation, from seminar presentations introducing a paper to more sophisticated research presentations. Each unit of Academic Presenting and Presentations, therefore, focuses on a different presentation genre, building students' awareness of not only how to present effectively, but of how to present appropriately in an academic environment.

As it is a presentation course, the accompanying videos form an integral component of this course. The videos consist of two types of presentation: Learning Presentations, which give advice to students and Sample Presentations, which illustrate different types of presentation.

The presentations are available online and can be found on the Academic Presenting and Presentations website at:

A boxed set of Video DVDs is also available from the publishers. This contains videos of all the Sample Presentations and Learning Presentations in a format suitable for playing on a standard DVD player.

This Teacher’s Book includes general guidance for class work, detailed notes on each unit and details of the theoretical rationale on which the course is based.

Concept and Structure

Basic principles

Presenting is an important part of university life. Students in different disciplines may well be expected to present as part of their studies. These may be developmental presentation tasks, such as presenting a paper to introduce a seminar discussion, or more formal, assessed presentations, which are the culmination of coursework assignments.

The aim of this course is to give students advice about different types of presentation task and also show them examples of presentations that they can analyse to identify successful presentation techniques. Throughout the course, students will also have ample opportunity to prepare and deliver the kinds of presentation they may be asked to give as part of their studies.

The core assumption of this course is that technical presentation skills alone will not enable students to deliver successful academic presentations. The definition below highlights what academic presentations mean in the context of this course.


An oral academic presentation is a clear articulation of ideas, based on and referencing sources or research evidence, in which the presenter leads the audience to logical and sound conclusions. Effective presentation skills are needed so the audience can follow the presentation easily, but an academic presentation must have substance. Through the presentation the presenter must analyse and evaluate information, making their reaction and position clear to the audience. Information in an academic presentation must be verifiable and the presenter must have a wider and deeper knowledge of the topic than that presented in the body of the presentation. A presentation should lead to discussion and further debate, with the presenter able to respond to audience questions competently. Different genres of academic presentation (e.g. presenting a paper, research presentations or problem-solution presentations) will require students to employ an appropriate structure.

A presentation-driven course

Academic Presenting and Presentations is built around presentations. This is based on the belief that the more presentations students see, the more clearly they will develop their ideas about what makes a presentation successful and what constitutes an appropriate academic presentation. There are two types of presentation in Academic Presenting and Presentations:Learning Presentations and Sample Presentations.

The Learning Presentations (LP)

give students information and advice about different aspects of presenting. While the focus of these presentations is on the advice given to students, they can also be used as examples of presentations in themselves and analysed for issues such as useful presenting language or delivery techniques.

The Sample Presentations (SP)

give students a chance to see different types of presentation in action and therefore become familiar with different genres of academic presentation. The emphasis while watching these presentations is on seeing how different presentations work structurally and how a presentation can be delivered successfully. A review of these presentations is provided in each unit of the Student’s Book and useful language is highlighted there. If you are not familiar with the variety of genres of academic presentation, it is strongly advised that you study these reviews in advance of teaching the course.

For both Learning Presentations and Sample Presentations, a main task is given in the Student’s Book and there are further worksheets at the end of the Student’s Book which can be used at your discretion. One of the aims of the course is flexibility and it is expected that the material will be exploited by the class tutor to meet the students’ needs. As the class tutor, you should also consider yourself a key learning aid in terms of modelling presentation techniques.


Academic Presenting and Presentations is designed to expose students to a variety of different presentations and give them the opportunity to develop and deliver a range of presentations themselves. The methodology of the course is based on three main techniques.


Throughout the course students will be expected to watch a presentation and consider issues such as organisation, language and delivery. In this way they can build up a profile of what they think works in a presentation and use this to develop their own presentation style.

Content-based instruction:

The Learning Presentations not only provide information and advice about presenting, but also serve as examples of presentations to be learned from. The topics in the Sample Presentations are chosen as relevant to students from different disciplines and, as well as being examples of presentations, engage students in thinking about other academic skills such as teamwork and researching.

Genre analysis:

In the same way that students may be expected to incorporate certain step during different types of essay, they should be using similar steps in different types of presentation. This means

Academic Presenting and Presentations

goes deeper into the structure of a presentation than simply introduction-body-conclusion. Students are encouraged to structure their presentations according to the objective of their presentation and their audience.

Class management

A presentation classroom should be lively. Encourage students to see the preparation process of a presentation as an active process. Rather than silent scripting or rehearsal, encourage students to prepare and practice as if giving the presentation. In this way, they can think about what they want to say, how they want to deliver it and what gestures to use.

For this reason, the Student’s Book does not give any specific guidance on class management, e.g. whether to work in pairs or in groups. This is because the organisation of your group will depend on the logistics. The aim should be to give each student as many opportunities present as possible, either to small groups or to the whole class. Teachers should also be aware of the distracting impact of simultaneous presentations taking place in different parts of the room.

Since rehearsal is a vital step in the presentation process, consider using a carousel system along the lines of speed dating. Have some students sitting around the room whilst other students move from one person or group to the next, delivering a part of their presentation and then moving on. This type of practice could be particularly beneficial for more reticent students, providing them with multiple opportunities to practice the delivery of their presentation in a relatively stress-free way. There should also be opportunities for students to present to the full class, since managing a larger audience is a skill presenters need to develop.


Students are expected to spend a third of the course time following the material in the Student’s Book, a third of the time preparing presentations and a third of the time giving presentations and receiving feedback on them. There is an average of two hours input material per unit (videos, language exercises, class discussion etc.) and students may also have to do a considerable amount of work outside class time, researching information for their presentations. However, ample class time should be given to presentation preparation and practice.


The overall aim of the course is to help students prepare for a range of academic presentation genres and develop an awareness of the features and characteristics of an academic presentation. The objective is to help students not only to present well, but to do so in an academically appropriate way.

The main aims and objectives for each unit are outlined in the notes to each unit in this Teacher’s Book. At the start of each unit in the Student’s Book, there is a Unit Aims box which asks students to consider specific questions which focus their attention on the main teaching points of the unit. Aims are presented in this way in order to encourage students to think about the upcoming unit and provide a focus for later reflection.

These opening questions could be dealt with either in small groups or used for general class discussions. They could also provide the opportunity for additional presentation practice, with a student presenting their (group’s) answers one or more of the questions.

At the end of the unit, these questions could be returned to for a further class discussion in order to check how much of the course the students have taken on board and to see how their ideas have developed. This will help mark the progress of the course and indicate where more work may be needed.

Presentation tasks

There are eleven formal presentation tasks in Academic Presenting and Presentations