Although university students often need to apply academic oral communication skills in many different tasks, according to Bruce (2011), these skills tend to receive the least formal attention in both research and in the classroom. In other words, there are not many courses that are designed to help students to communicate effectively and appropriately in academic settings. Furthermore, of all the academic oral communication tasks, making academic presentations is one of the tasks that pose great challenges to the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students (Al-Nouh, Abdul-Kareem, Taqi, 2015; Ferris & Tagg, 1996; Zappa-Hollman, 2007).
Developing academic oral communication skills, especially academic presentation skills, is essential for the students in Taiwan. However, promoting oral communication skills which requires students to use the language in the real-life situation is completely overlooked. It is EAP instructors’ responsibility to socialize our students into academic discourses so that they can perform appropriately and professionally in the international academic community. Therefore, the aim of this teaching practice research is to explore effective instructional design and various presentation skills, both language skills and critical thinking skills, to help our EFL university students to make professional academic presentations. In particular, this teaching practice research covers the following objectives in academic presentations:
including formal word choice, reporting verbs and hedging languages, in academic presentations
such as signpost phrases in academic presentations
including intonation, emphasis and pauses, in academic presentations
including eye contact, gestures, and posture, in academic presentations
to guide the organization and the content of academic presentations
The instructional design will be divided into two semesters. In both semesters, language skills and critical thinking skills will be covered at the same time. In the first semester, instructional focus from the language skills will be on the paralinguistic features (linguistic competence) and presentation structure and signaling devices (pragmatic competence); whereas the instructional focus from the critical thinking skills will be on Elements of Thought, which is used to guide the reasoning process. In the second semester, instructional focus from the language skills will be on the language use (linguistic competence) and non-verbal communication skills and PPT design (intercultural competence); whereas the instructional focus from the critical thinking skills will be on Intellectual Standards, which is used to evaluate the reasoning process.
After this one-year course, it is expected that the students will improve in their academic presentation performance. Particularly, they will use appropriate language, including formal word choice, reporting verbs and hedging languages; they will present with structure and signaling devices such as signpost phrases; they will use effective paralinguistic features, including intonation, emphasis and pauses; they will use non-verbal communication skills, including eye contact, gestures, and posture; and they will apply the tips of making PPT slides, such as using visuals, in their academic presentations. Most importantly, they will integrate critical thinking skills to guide the organization and the content of their academic presentations.
Course Title: English Academic Note-taking & Presentation Skills High-intermediate
Semester: 2018 Fall
Instructor: D. Yang
Credit Hours: 3 credits
Course Level: CEFR B1-C1