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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > POWERPOINT Presentations    

POWERPOINT Presentations

United Kingdom

POWERPOINT Presentations

POWERPOINT Presentations

When I worked as an ESOL teacher in College, I noticed that very few teachers used PowerPoint as a means of teaching.

When they did, the slides were almost always static, often black and white, usually in small font, and the teacher stood at the computer, regularly pressing a key to move to the next slide.

Not all teachers worked like this, but many did.

I realise that some schools, unfortunately, don’t have computers … indeed, some do not have electricity … and not all teachers are familiar with the computer. So, I can understand the difficulties.

However, on ESLP, there are numerous excellent PowerPoints, already prepared, and some are automatic. With one of these presentations, all the teacher has to do, is to start the computer on PowerPoint, click “Slide Show” and click “From Beginning”. If it’s automatically timed, the presentation runs itself to the end. If not, the teacher does nothing more than clicking the “Down” arrow to change to the next slide.

There are many advantages to using a good visual presentation.

1. Needs little preparation.

2. Effective teaching method.

3. Engages attention of students.

4. No standing in queue for photocopying.

5. Needs no chalk, pens, Whiteboard, etc.

6. Teacher can work on other things.

7. Needs only computer, (Memory Stick is a good option).

8. Colourful, animated, with music and commentary if necessary.

9. A mini cine-film.

10. Teacher can change timings, (slow/fast), for different level classes.

11. Teacher can pause, restart, stop at any time.

12. Can be small screen, or big screen with OHP.

13. Suitable for solo work by student.

14. Lesson can be repeated effortlessly at any time

15. Lasts ‘for ever’.

These are my thoughts. What are yours?

Les Douglas

26 Jun 2017      

Russian Federation

What can I say? I fully agree with you.

26 Jun 2017     


You may be true but I can tell that I ´ve used powerpoint presentations for years either to introduce my lessons or to practice particular grammatical points or just to have my students speak. They ´re very useful!
All the best

26 Jun 2017     

United Kingdom

There is much truth in what you say. Power point is a superb tool because you can have as many images as you want without paying for photocopies, as you say. However, an important proviso is that there be opportunities for pair and group work. Students learn a language by repetition, practice, role-play, lah-de-dah, not with faces glued to a screen. Also, large, shall we say, mischievous classes need to have something in front of them, a gap fill, or whatever. In mainstream classes, by the way, (in England) it is the opposite Everyone teaches by power point, mainly because they can ´t afford text books, or text books have got a bad name. Personally, I like a text book and there are some brilliant ESL ones, lots of images and listening exercises to accompany.
If you have got an interactive screen, this programme is truly marvellous (TaskMagic). You can get a three month free trial. This brilliant programme (for smaller classes - up to about 16 students) is amazing. You input your passage and bingo! It does the rest - creating interactive exercises, and also,  worksheets for you. I miss it.  It really is magic. So, a magic programme for a magic man. 

26 Jun 2017     

maryse peyé

I do agree with you too but the problem is that, on one hand, I have not yet taken enough time to study how to do this kind of powerpoint ! I would like to know because some work I did woutd have had more interest in automatic mode...
On the other hand as I give only private tutoring I do not use this tool.
I guess I will have soon or late to learn... just because I am curious and I need to improve my knowledge.
Hugs to all.

26 Jun 2017     


I agree that a good powerpoint, used well, can make a big difference, but I found when working in classrooms that every year I used fewer and fewer powerpoints and became more creative in using a variety of resources - flashcards, textbooks, literature, even OHPs!
I think that the main advantages are the ability to annotate the powerpoint on an interactive whiteboard (if you are lucky enough to have one) and to be able to easily adapt a single resource to use with different ability groups in different years. It´s great to dig out last year´s powerpoint at the start of a new school year and know that you have a lesson more or less ready to go. 
However, "death by powerpoint" is something that pupils in the UK can often complain of. Using a visual resource as a stimulus for pair work or discussion worked much better, in my experience, than running it as a film.  And that means that a good powerpoint does need a lot of preparation as it must be carefully planned out! 
Where I particularly like powerpoints and interactive whiteboard software is the ability to animate German word order - it is so helpful to let the students watch the verb flying to the end of a clause when a subordiante conjunction pops up!

26 Jun 2017     


I agree with you, most presentation type of ppt-s might work well like that. Though it is difficult to predict the rate of correct timing for a certain class. On the other hand most of my ppt-s won ´t work like that. They are games not presentation. Also in the age of smartphones I started to return to the traditional forms of teaching, I find simple worksheets and cards etc. are more appealing for students as they are constantly on the move with their mobiles.

26 Jun 2017     


A problem is that most teachers are not aware of the features that are available in PowerPoint that can make it interactive.  I am referring specifically to the feature of triggers which allows the user to select specific points on the slide and make the text or picture do whatever you want it to do.  Not wishing to blow my own trumpet but examples of such activities can be found among my presentations.  I am afraid I have been away from direct teaching for a number of years now and so my instructions are a little out of date and refer to older versions of PowerPoint.  PowerPoint is also introducing brand new features, such as PowerPoint Mix that presents whole new alternatives for teachers.  With a little imagination and creativity PowerPoint is a valuable tool in any teacher ´s arsenal of teaching weapons!! 

26 Jun 2017     


Hi there!
Interesting point regarding the use of this particular "technology" in the classroom. I have been using it for ages now!
In Portugal, both teachers and students are now using Prezi for higher levels.
Wonderful tool, really!
As soon as one is willing to use it! 

28 Jun 2017     


I was a die hard power point lover, but working in Japan has changed my mind. Now I rely on flash cards and giant printed photos instead. The situation here technology wise is surprisingly basic. Many schools still use black boards and chalk over white boards. Our school does have projectors but they have to be wheeled between classes and the computers that run them are in a terrible state. I think most teachers learn how to teach in an old fashioned way from older teachers so learning how to use more modern methods takes time that they don`t have.
I`m starting to see the charms of using actual photos and cut out pictures to play games with too. It gives the lesson a more home made feeling. The students can also hold my pictures in their hands and look at them more closely too.
Power points do last forever its true, but they often take a really long time to set up if you are moving from class to class and there is no guarantee that they will work each time. 
Students do love seeing a bit of technology and the feeling of seeing a show that they get with powerpoints though. It might be fun to watch, but ultimately having an interaction with a teacher is the most fun students can have a think. I dont think we should stand back and let powerpoints do our job. I think using props actually forces teachers to take a more active role in lessons. Of course if it is just a grammar break down I can see the use of using a powerpoint to save on explanation time.
When I arrived I thought I could change the system by showing them how to use power points in a lesson but the infrastructure is not in place here. Our school constantly gets booklets on how to use modern technology but I dont think we have the time or money to invest in them. 
The fax machine is still working well though... 
If you can use power points go for it! 

28 Jun 2017     

United Kingdom

Crikey O ´Reilly! I thought Japan would be really high tech! Anyway, this power point is my favourite of all time. Check it out.

29 Jun 2017     

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