Forgive me for repeating myself (a frequent and unattractive trait), but there’s this Dickens thing coming up. Tomorrow.
(By the time you read this it will probably have happened already).
Oh sorry! If you don’t know what I am talking about, it’s a show I am doing/have done with friend and colleague Steve Bingham about the magical storytelling of Charles Dickens. The British Council asked us to do it and we have had great fun putting the words and music together for the show. Oh, and since it’s his 200th (and 1 day) birthday today here’s a last photo of of him!
But the point is – and the point of this post – is that it took a long long long long time to choose and prepare and rehearse and tryout our 65-minute show. Hours of time.
And it’s the same with conference presentations. I was talking to my colleagues at a conference in Barcelona last weekend, and there seems to be some variability about this. Some presenters (like me) spend hours and days and weeks building huge documents of notes, suggestions, pictures etc until they gradually coalesce into something that has a narrative – and the possibility of engaging a group of listening teachers. Others seem to be happy to throw a new idea – or a quick description of what they are doing – at an audience in record time.
And what happens when/if the talk is ready? Well for me it takes about two or three ‘goes’ before I feel really comfortable with what I am talking about – before I know how to pace things well.
At the weekend I saw a brand new talk from Scott Thornbury on the use of gesture, physical movement etc in language learning and teaching. I would happily listen to it/watch it again tomorrow because like all his talks it was engaging, thought-provoking and enjoyable. I’d love to see it again after 3 or 4 more outings too – to see how it has evolved!
Is that the same with planning lessons, I wonder?
Right now I SHOULD be preparing 3 new talks for a trip to Vietnam in two weeks. But I am blocked by the knowledge that there is no time.Help me someone!!!
It’s all Mr Dickens’ fault.
What about you, I wonder? How much preparation do you need to do when you present to teachers (or work with students)?
I’d love to know.