Sunday, 27 April 2014

Speaking Presentations

I believe it's high time I shared something from my teaching experience. As my third-year students and I got to the end of the term last Friday, I had my share of reward reaping while enjoying their presentations on the unit topic (medicine and health-related issues). This time I didn't give them any specific topics for presentation but had them choose what they would rather speak on. I must admit that it always comes as a bit of a surprise to observe how different students incorporate active vocabulary of the unit in their presentations as well as trying to understand their motivation beind the topics they choose. Anyway, I had a great time. 

However, something I'd like to share in this post has to do with a precious unit we were working on, the topic of which revolves around travel and tourism. As a speaking project they were assigned a role play that they had to set and film. I developed three different situations so as to incorporate different perspectives on this topic that we were discussing during the classes.

Topic: Travel and Tourism 

Format: Role play

Context description. A small village has recently become a pilgrimage spot for hoards of tourists due to a groundbreaking archeological discovery. Locals benefit from the situation by selling souvenirs, renting out houses and providing food for visitors. Eventually, new businesses move in to provide for a constantly growing demand for accommodation and places to eat. They claim it won’t harm the local economy as it will attract more tourists. At the same time, historians and environmentalists start making claims that more tourists may be detrimental for the site itself. New confrontations start taking place.

A local resident. You are one of those who benefit from tourism in your area as you can charge for providing tourists with a place to stay and food, working as a guide and selling souvenirs. However, you do not like the idea of businesses from outside moving in and creating competition for you.
A businessman. You are involved in catering business and having found out about the situation in this village you decided to jump in and build a hostel and a restaurant to attract tourists. Locals, however, are resisting this intention because they think it will decrease their profits. You try to convince them that there will be enough clients for everybody.
An environmentalist. You have been involved in environment protection activity for quite a while and are aware what consequences extensive tourism may have lead to. Growing numbers of tourists coming to this village cause deep concerns for you. You try to educate local residents about detrimental effects of more tourists arriving in the village and prevent more businesses to get rooted here.
A tourist. You like visiting sites and areas of historical interest. You also care about facilities available there. As long as you’re a seasoned tourist, many of your friends would ask your recommendations as to which place to visit and why. In this village you see lots of potential for tourism but you consider that a more developed infrastructure will be even more favourable for attracting tourists like you.

Context description. A city council announced a competition among local travel agencies for original tourism ideas that are possible to implement in your area to help support local economy. Each travel agency has to present a project outlining its obvious benefits as well as predicted drawbacks. The winning travel agency will get funding from city council to run the project.


Travel agency 1. Green tourism.
Travel agency 2. Slow tourism.
Travel agency 3. Adventure tourism.
City Mayor. Your speech will briefly focus on pros and cons of each of the suggested ideas. Afterwards, you will announce the winner explaining the decision of city council, providing more information on how this decision may be beneficial for local economy.

Context description. A talk show “Raw deal” explores the topic of travel and questions the statement that travel broadens the mind. Some guest speakers share their travel experiences that didn’t live up to their expectations or were close to a nightmare. Others try to present stories about fascinating and unforgettable journeys that were transformative and life changing experiences.

The host. You moderate the show, make short summary of each story and come up with a logical conclusion at the end of the show.
Guest 1. Utterly negative experience.
Guest 2. Absolutely positive experience.
Guest 3. Mixed feelings, both positive and negative elements are present.

Watching their videos afterwards was a special treat I must say. The thing is that very often it's by using such creative tasks that a teacher can understand and bring forward immence creative potential of students. Naturally, there are some challenges involved, but there's great learning too, which makes this experience worthwhile.

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