Perspectives on the Experience of Participating in English Language Presentation Contests

Proceedings of ‏The 3rd International Conference on Future of Teaching and Education

Year: 2020


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Perspectives on the Experience of Participating in English Language Presentation Contests

Dr. Richard Miles



Oral presentations are a commonly assessed task in university classes worldwide, particularly in ESP (English for Specific Purpose) and second language classes. As such, a substantial body of research exists, documenting the various facets of presentations skills and the views and experiences of both presenters and educators in the classroom. However, scant research exists on how such presenters perceive the experience of presenting outside the classroom, in contexts such as English language presentation contests. For motivated university students, presentation contests offer a further opportunity to experience presenting in a second language and a chance to pit themselves against top presenters from other universities. To better support students in preparing for the difficulties of presenting at such contests in a second language, their views and experiences need to be more rigorously investigated. Therefore, this study investigated the experiences of thirteen Japanese university students participating in three different English presentation contests. The primary research objective was to ascertain whether or not the presenters perceived their experiences as positive or negative, and to establish what factors had mitigated these views. A qualitative research design was employed, and data was collected through the administration of an online survey conducted after the contests had concluded. Thematic analysis and triangulation of the participants’ responses indicates that most of the participants had positive experiences. Factors leading to this positive experience generally included either realizing specific pre-determined goals at the contest or being able to rationalize the holistic benefits of having competed in the contest.

Keywords: ESP, Learning experiences, Oral presentations.