Presentation Projects for ESL/EFL Students: Some Ideas

Presentations for ESL Students

Presentation ideas for ESL students

Presentation Projects for ESL/EFL Students

Over the years teaching in a Korean university, I’ve had students do plenty of presentation projects, with varying degrees of success. I hope that you can learn from my mistakes and make your ESL speaking classes as awesome as possible.

Presentation projects, if set up well are an excellent way to add a bit of variety to the ESL classroom. After all, students get tired of hearing the teacher talk all the time! And you probably get tired of talking. I know that I always did! Plus, it’s fun to hear what students have to say.

Here are my top presentation projects for ESL/EFL students.

A Basic Speech

Each student has to choose from a variety of topics such as family, food, dreams or hobby. They have to speak for between 1.5 and 2 minutes. I did this only once, with low-level students and it was ridiculously boring such that I never did it again.

The main problem is all the presentations are basically the same and go a little something like this: “I have a mom. She is 49 years old. She has brown hair and black eyes. I have a dad. He is 57 years old. My dad has brown hair and black eyes. He is short.”

Trust me, they were some of the most tedious and excruciating hours of my entire life. It was from this point on that I vowed to never set up a presentation like this again. I got a lot more creative and made students talk about things that were more varied and interesting.

Presentation, and then Discussion Time

Each group has to give a presentation about a topic of their choosing and think of at least 5 interesting questions/surveys/activities that groups could discuss or do for about 20 minutes after their presentation.

This presentation project ideas had varying results, since some groups chose a topic that led to a lot of “yes/no” answers and discussions that lasted about 5 minutes, at most. However, this could have been avoided by personally approving the topics in advance and requiring groups to submit their assignment for feedback a week or two before the actual presentation. I blame nobody but myself for the failure on this one!

This ideas for presentation projects isn’t a bad one, if you set it up well.

Poster Presentation

Each group has to choose a current controversial issue (like environmental pollution, suicide, North Korea) and make a poster that had English writing and some interesting pictures on it. Set a (low) max number of words or your posters will be terrible and filled with wordy death! Then, the students have to do a presentation based on the poster where each group member speaks for 1-2 minutes, without a paper.

For this one, it’s very important that you require no paper script, or you’ll just have students reading. Also, don’t allow students to put too many words on the poster, or you’ll have students reading off of this.

If I ever did this again, I would do something where the audience was more involved, such as peer grading. Or, I would require each group watching the presentation to think of at least 1 question to ask and they’d get a point for doing so.

It’s potentially an excellent group presentation project!

PowerPoint Presentation

This has the potential to be very interesting, or PPT death. It all depends on how you set the presentation project up. If you do go with this method, you should set a maximum number of slides and also a maximum numbers of words per slide (10?). Emphasize to students that you want to see pictures, charts, etc. and not a wall of text. I generally allow each group to have 1 intro and 1 conclusion slide, and then 1 slide per group member.

Teach students how to make good PowerPoints and then penalize heavily for not following your recommendations. You should also coach students on how to stand to the side and keep their body pointed towards the audience. Eye contact is key!

This is an excellent idea for presentation projects, if some key expectations are set out in advance. Eye contact/don’t look at screen, pictures instead of words on the PowerPoint, etc.

Like these Ideas for Presentation Projects?

Then you’re going to love this book, 101 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults. It’s an extremely practical, well-organized teaching guide that will help you plan your lessons in no time. The best part about it is that your students will be having fun, while learning English.

The book is available in both digital and print formats. The (cheaper!) digital one can be read on any device-Kindle, Mac, Pc, Smartphone, or tablet by downloading the free Kindle reading app from Amazon. It’s super-easy to have some top-quality ESL activities and games at your fingertips at all times.

Check out the book on Amazon by clicking the link below:

Leave a Reply