So much of communication in presentations occurs through our body language. Stance, direct eye contact, and gestures all affect how an audience perceives presenters. This is particularly important for English as a second/foreign language learners. Though they may be experienced presenters in their own language and to people of their own culture, presenting to an American audience presents its own challenges. This lesson plan for your ESL/EFL learners will give them the knowledge and practice they need to become more effective presenters in English by focusing on body language as well as to practice using gerunds.
standing up straight
short (2-4 short paragraphs) article on body language in presentations that you write or find from another source. Include all of the vocabulary words from the lesson in the article. (Make it appropriate to your students’ level.)
cards with gestures, or stances on them that should or should not be used in a presentation (i.e., “swaying,” “pacing,” “writing on and talking to the chalkboard,” “slumping,” “folding arms across chest,” “standing up straight,” etc.) Use only words that you have gone over in class.
1.) Begin by asking students what a presenter does with his hands, face, and the rest of his body that helps him give a good presentation. Write answers on the board. Ask students to identify pattern in words written on the board (gerunds or verbal nouns-verbs that end in “ing” that are used as a noun) (5 minutes)
2.) Ask students to silently read the article as you read it aloud. Students will then read it to themselves. Ask them to underline or highlight the gerunds they see in the article. (10 minutes)
3.) Split students into pairs. One student will read one paragraph out loud, and the other student will read the next paragraph out loud. Switch reading paragraphs until the article is read completely. Then have students in the pairs discuss the article. Some discussion questions may include: “Is swaying left and right throughout the presentation irritating?” (Point out that “irritating” is an adjective, not a gerund and that it can also be used as a verb. Generalize this to other similarly used words.) “Should you face the white board and talk during your presentation? Why or why not?” (15 minutes)
4.) Make two teams (or more, depending on the size of your class.) Give each team an equal number of cards with gestures or stances on them that you wrote out before class. One student from each team comes up to the front of the class and demonstrates the action from one of the cards that his team received. The first team to shout out the correct action gets a point. The team with the most points when all the cards are used wins. (15 minutes)
5.) Wrap up by asking a few students what some examples of good body language to use in a presentation are. Make sure they use the vocabulary learned in the lesson, particularly gerunds. (5-10 minutes)