Learn more about Pechakuchas

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For this pedagogical activity, we combined Pechakuchas done by students with presentations from other cultures.

It all started when we decided that the students would prepare a Pechakucha to share with me their Christmas traditions before I told them about Christmas traditions in the UK. Pechakuchas are a simple presentation format where you show as many slides as there are students in a class, each for 20- 30 seconds. The slides advance automatically and the students talk along to the slides.

The basic steps of the Pechakucha we designed for Christmas were:

  • Students prepare a slide on their given topic, and then they plan the slide and what they are going to say.
  • A teacher prepares a presentation, including all the slides (the participants do not have the whole picture)
  • The students present the Pechkucha as a whole class.
  • I then give my own presentation on the topic.

The first time the students did the Pechakucha it was just before the Christmas holidays and it was designed as a fun end-of-term activity. Student prepared one slide individually and sent it to the teacher. The teacher then organized the slides into one presentation where the slides automatically changed every 20 seconds, My role as a language assistant in this presentation was to learn about their ways to celebrate Christmas and share a presentation on Christmas traditions in the UK. What made this experience extremely interesting from a pedagogical point of view was that it placed productive skills (speaking and writing) before receptive skills (reading and listening) in a 60 minutes lesson. For this type of activity we found that thIS design really worked as the attention of the students was captured, This fact made us consider taking Pechakuchas more seriously. We also discovered that because we were asking very little to each individual student (They just presented one slide), the activity was fun, allowed every student to work at their own level and helped to create group cohesion. We were also conscious of some design flaws. Asking each student to send a slide to the teacher’s mailbox was time-consuming. There were also timing issues; for example, We realised that 20 seconds was not long enough and this was frustrating for some students.

So, we decided to try a second Pechakucha on educational systems. We also had an American student from the Massachussets Institute of Technology visiting our school, and could count on a total three different cultural perspectives. Furhermore, the third lesson in their course book dealt with student life.

So, the second time we did the Pechakucha, we:

  • Included more preparation steps in order to give the students a better opportunity to plan, rehearse and improve their pronunciation, language, content and structure and presentation skills.

o Before giving the Pechakucha, students prepared a draft in groups on their assigned topic (but they still had one slide each) and practiced their speeches with me, so that I could give them feedback o One student in every group sent their slides to me for final correction where I only highlighted mistakes (I didn´t make corrections). o Núria prepared the slides so it would run as a single presentation. o She increased the time to 30 seconds and made the title slides only 10 seconds.

On the day of the Pechakucha, students presented their slides, next the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Language Assistant explained what it was like to be a member of one the leading universities in the world, and then I did a more general overall look at the education system.