PowerPoint For TEFL
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- PowerPoint For TEFL

A Seminar held by EFL teacher: Nizar Taha Haj Ahmad            

bulletWhat is PowerPoint?


PowerPoint is a type of presentation software that allows one to show coloured text and images with simple animation and sound PowerPoint is the most popular because it comes bundled with Microsoft packages. PowerPoint will run on either Macintosh or Windows PC's. The files are easy to create and can be e-mailed as attachments. They can be posted on or downloaded from websites, and can be converted to html WebPages. Not only can PowerPoint presentations be traded and exchanged, they can also be modified to fit any individual classroom setting. Although other presentation software may have the same capabilities, PowerPoint is the most common, and it is user friendly.


bulletWhy PowerPoint?


The need to improve the world’s educational system is more evident than ever. But two points are clear:  everyone would benefit from better prepared teachers and more inspired students.

Teaching is a time-consuming task faced mostly alone by every teacher throughout history.  No tradition of sharing in teaching has evolved, as its value would have been limited.

Students, even in underprivileged areas, are distracted more and more by flashy alternatives to education, including video games and the Internet.  Watching a teacher in front of the dullest possible object, a plain black board with at most some white chalk, is clearly an even more tedious experience now than ever.

In terms of the first point, PowerPoint offers a solution especially for EFL teachers. As EFL teachers teach two aspects of Target Language (TL) i.e. the information (the meanings, functions, certain issues a given text may convey) and structure (the rules used when target language perception and production take place), they need to care a lot about timing and effort. Teaching the information takes EFL teachers 60% of their period timing whereas teaching and practising the structures 35% of their period timing in addition to 5% spent for classroom management, dealing with misbehavours, coming late for class or school etc.

Using PowerPoint for TEFL objectives offers longer time for practice as it presents the information easily and effectively in a shorter time all in an enjoyable atmosphere. Thus, pupils can gain more time for pupil – pupil interaction (group – pair work) and teacher – pupil interaction. (Figure 1, 2, 3)


    Figure 1: An EFL teacher has to work on introducing two aspects of TL.


Figure 2: An EFL teacher spends 60% of period time to introduce information aspect.(1)


Figure 3: An EFL teacher spends 20 – 50 % of period time to introduce structure aspect.


For those flashy alternatives to education, PowerPoint can help teachers rebalance the scales. PowerPoint presentations can meet with individual differences and various learning styles. It is well known that "The combination of hearing about a concept, seeing a demonstration, and then talking about it seems to be the best way for a student to learn,"  A presentation with videos, graphics, sounds, music, tables, charts, graphs, animations can suit visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners (figure 4). Therefore, a class taught through out such presentations will be of great interest in the TL and make reasonable progress. The learners are motivated by the interest and enjoyment of using this technique as well as by their better understanding of the TL which has been a burden and a barrier for some of them.


Figure 4: PowerPoint offers a variety of Multimedia aspects for EFL teachers to use.


Creating new presentations is facilitated by PowerPoint’s compatibility with word processing programs. A text from online sources can be cut and pasted into a slide. Scanned images from examples of documents and images can also be inserted. The software has a large database of clip art and there are more image galleries available online. Lastly, images and text can be combined and resized for effect and animated to underscore particular points.

Varying classroom presentations with the graphical mindset of PowerPoint slides can help students shift their modes of thinking—a form of mental cross-training. It can address the needs of students with different learning styles and prepare them to practice in a world that values images to express ideas. It also introduces them to a technology that in many areas of Academic practice has become essential, and which they will need to learn.


bulletHow does PowerPoint fit?


PowerPoint presentations can be used in many ways in the EFL class as well as in other classes. Presentations can be used for initial teaching, for practice and drilling, for games, for reviews, and for tests.


sfa_l_1.gif - Initial teaching


PowerPoint can be used to teach new ideas and concepts to students. In theory this sounds good;however, in practice this can be tricky. The teacher must anticipate areas of misunderstanding and difficulty. Once the teacher knows the troubles, which the students will face, he or she can create or adapt a presentation for the students. This presentation should address anticipated areas of student difficulty in an orderly manner. This type of presentation is difficult to prepare, but it can be done. Once an initial presentation is prepared, it can be saved and used again and again, and it can be shared with others.


sfa_l_1.gif - Practice and Drill


To do this it is necessary to have the type of material which can be repeated many times. A presentation of irregular verbs is one example of something which can be repeated again and again. Other types of material can be repeated on a weekly or biweekly basis. Presentations using correct preposition, or the correct form of an adjective, or countable and uncountable contrasts could be practiced and reviewed periodically.


sfa_l.gif - Review and Revision


PowerPoint presentations are great for reviewing ideas which have already been taught. After the students have learned and practised something, it is good to see a presentation. Such presentations shouldn't be showed everyday. They must be saved for a special treat sometime during the week or month. They provide, then, a break of the routine and a way to see material differently. Not only do students find this interesting, but it is also a good way to check and see if they have mastered a concept. PowerPoint presentations are also a good way to review before a test.


sfa_l.gif - Composition Lessons


A multimedia presentation can be of great benefit in composition periods. Some slides can be prepared for the topic concerned. Two or three slides with sounds, graphics and videos can be a merit in brain storming and imagination trigger. After an illustrated discussion and guide words and expressions have been elicited the students can write their topic on worksheets handed to them previously.


sfa_l.gif - Tests ( Progress Evaluation)


Teachers can use PowerPoint for their tests. The best example is vocabulary test. A teacher can place graphics, videos, and movie clips of items on slides to be shown at preset intervals. (The timer can be set for a reasonable number of seconds for each slide.) The students then write or say the name of the item. Using the timer feature, a teacher can design many types of tests or quizzes.


bulletPowerPoint... Good points

  • PowerPoint is fun to watch and fun to make.
  • Used correctly, PowerPoint can accommodate all learners' needs.
  • It has a spell-checker function! Something that our black boards and overheads lack.
  • It motivates students when used properly and moderately.
  • It motivates staff.
  • PowerPoint allows the teacher to reflect on the lesson and correct any needed changes.
  • Presentations can enhance teaching strategies: lecture, discussion, group work, quizzes and exams.
  • Absent students won't lose the chance to catch up again as you can provide them with a copy of the presentation.
  • Using presentations instead of handouts can save trees and money.
  • Students are not victimized by teacher's handwriting.
  • Students accustomed to receiving most of their information from a screen are motivated in ways they frequently are not when they must listen only. 
  • PowerPoint provides more time for listening and comprehending so that class time is used effectively.
  • PowerPoint allows teachers to face students (rather than facing the board)
  • PowerPoint is not hard to learn. It is rated a 'B+' for ease of use. It should take one hour to learn the basics.

bulletPowerPoint... Oops

  • Initial learning curve may be steep.
  • Finding and converting media can be vexing.
  • Students expect presentations for every lesson.
  • Teacher's emphasis may be on the quality of the presentation rather than the students' learning.
  • PowerPoint presentations are teacher-controlled. If a student didn't get a particular point when the slide was up, he is left foundering.
  • Overuse can bore students and diminish PowerPoint's effectiveness.
  • Computers crash, networks go down, viruses can plague computers! Always have a back-up plan.
  • Classrooms need large monitors or projectors to display presentations.


 Salahedin Secondary School.2004-2005.

This site was built by: EFL Teacher Nizar Taha Haj Ahmad