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Oral communication: thoughts before choosing a topic for a presentation

Hi folks! 

We are here today to share some thoughts about what to do and what not to do when choosing a topic for an oral presentation:

This is a collaborative document! If you have any ideas/suggestions to incorporate to it, please, leave a comment! Thanks a million!

To have this type of conversations and/or analysis with our students is really important. They really want to be an active part of their education and they want to know what to do and what not to and why.

Definitely, to get our students involved in these conversations help them engage in the class. They kind of change their perspective on your class becoming ours/theirs.



ü  Consider a topic that really interests you (yes, YOU!) and goes well with your personality/identity

This is a crucial point, we are all different and we all have different interests, so something that works for your best friend doesn't have to work for you.

ü  Think of a theme that enables you to learn about an aspect of the target language or culture (our case, Spanish)

For example: not all topics will enable you to learn a lot about every language or culture. It will depend on the target language/culture. 

ü  Choose an open-ended topic that encourages you to express lots of opinions

This will let you raise additional questions and info.

ü  Take into consideration a topic that offers the potential for complex thoughts

Higher-order thinking is a high value.

ü  When making your choice consider a topic you'll be able to research quite easily

So you can focus on important transferable ideas & language skills.

ü  Begin with a stimulus (a song, a picture, a painting...) as this helps you stay on track

ü  Place the stimulus within a social/cultural/historical/political/artistic context

It will help you understand (and others) the topic deeply.

ü  Brainstorm your first ideas and limit the range of your research

ü  Set down some questions about your presentation and try to answer them 

This will help you to anticipate some questions you might have during your Q/A session.

ü  Practice with your friends, family, neighbors… (better if you can practice with a native) 

But PRACTICE don't bombard them 24 hours a day ;)

ü  Choose a topic is easy for you to break it down in different pieces.

Make an outline of each one and practice separately. Finally, put all your pieces together.

Ø  Be too ambitious (if you choose something you know nothing about, you may end up wasting a lot of time).

You want to be challenged but not over challenged

Ø  Pick something too difficult, we don't want anxiety and/or stress!

Again, give yourself a break, we are working on developing your language skills.

Ø  Select clichés or stereotypical topics like bull fighting or flamenco, unless you have something quite original to say.

It might be quite uninteresting for your audience

Ø  Choose something so unknown you can't find any information about it

You want something you don’t have to make a huge effort to find information about.

Ø  Relate/Narrate someone's biography

It sounds like rehearsed and it's definitely boring. If you want to score highly you might want to take your audience into consideration

Ø  Do all your research in a different language (English?) and then just translate it all (it won't sound authentic)

It won't sound natural. Remember the importance of thinking in sentences and ideas.

Ø  Use Google Translator 

It won't sound authentic and you will get lucky if your presentation makes sense. Give yourself a chance, you might know more than Google!

Ø  Leave it to the last minute!!!

Unless your goal is to have a zero to show yourself you can also handle really low scores ;)

Source: IB Spanish B SL/HL
 OSC IB Revision Guide

2 comentarios:

  1. Anónimo2/20/2017

    This is my first year teaching Spanish B and I am worried that I missed something. Has the IB Spanish B SL course changed so that the stimulus is provided by the teacher? The students no longer are required to put together a presentation like you explained above, correct?

  2. Hi Kristy,
    You are right, the stimulus is provided by the teacher (unseen, two different options). You can see here the structure of the exam and some resources that might help. If you need anything else, do not hesitate to contact me ;)
    - https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-pMPQsPOAQ0ZkVncmlqZHdNam8/view
    - http://www.antonioluna.org/p/spanish-b.html






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