interview

We have interviewed an educational technologist, Rab Patterson, who has done a session for the 46th Annual International Conference on Language Teaching and Learning & Educational Materials Exhibition.

Q. Tell us why you have become an educational technologist.

I graduated high school at the age of 16 however was unable to go to college and became a ship carpenter since my father's passed away. After I worked in harsh conditions like assisting terrorism and drug dealing, I learned to engineer for a year in college, however, got bored so I switched to sport education in the next year. But again, I lost interest in it, was doing part-time jobs is when I desired to know about the world; I attended an English teacher training program teaching English in Japan, Korea, and India. There I realized that I did not specifically know about asia, so I went back to college again continuing research of Asia Pacific until my masters. As it gradually became boring I researched about technology and language education.

Teaching is the same as presenting. I have never been taught before about it, so I was horrible. At that time I was teaching at Sophia University, then ICU with a professor lecturing against hundreds of students. What I put importance the most in my class is "improvement", so when I read the reflection reports students wrote at the end of the course, I saw that there were many pupils saying that "The lecture is interesting but the slides are switched too fast that I cannot take notes on it." Meaning that students were reading the slides rather than listening to the lecture. Since I realized the presentation is about "listening" and continuing my research on where I can change, my presenting had improved. However, many professors did not know this, consequently leading to an inevitable deduction on students from lacking words in presentations.

I believe that there is a fault for boring professors rather than students who don't listen to lectures. Surely this could be said for any job; making presentation skills significant. Ideally, presenting lessons learned from lecture types from participating type is the best, but considering the time needed for practice and feedback, a small class is desirable.

Q. Are there different characteristics in japanese presentations compared to foreign ones?

Yes. They often ask me to specifically explain what I will talk about beforehand on the paper. I think that by making it a surprise, it will give impact to the audience radicating memory, but Japanese culture has a tendency to lay the groundwork. Moreover, they also ask for a script, but I dont write one in the first place because it will make the presentation dull and boring when I just read them out loud. For safety sake I do send them a summary of the presentation, but it is not enough for them

Q. What do you think of the people who print out their slides?

I wonder why they won't share the link. Japanese have a strong attachment towards paper. Listening is most significant to live presentation, so the slides only contain a keyword and images correlated to it. If someone did miss the live presentation, I think it is the best to send them a sepaprate slide that include neccesary information. I reccomend uploading a screenreording of the slides with voiceover. There is no need of printing it out.

First of all, I doubt giving students marks through tests. Test is for testing how much students were capable of memorizing in short period of time. Memories aren't in normal condition. If so, isn't it better to score students through projects, reports, or essays with longer spans? Rather than scoring on how mmuch can be memorized, scoring based on the output on what theyve learned through presenting or making of a website is valid. Mathmatics is an exception.

Even if testing is inevitable, there is no need of putting them on paper. We can simply question problems which can't be easily searched on the internet. For example, complicated questions like "What was the reason of a historical war" have multiple answers. Therefore students will be obligated to show their opinions and reasoning based on developing on the topic learned. In other words knowledge from textbooks aren't enough, making the student to research about the topic, and tests critical thinking skills. From the view that this requires prior knowledge, isn't this a good memorization test?

I'm also doubtful about reading textbooks at school. Why not at home? Spend a meaningful class by utilizing classmates by discussing what students read on the textbooks.

Q. Are there exceptions for using bullet points?

Agendas and specific information slides like I have said previously (can be used.) Not if anything, bullet points are dyslexic friendly. You don't need to always follow the rules. If you have a valid reason, you can do things differently. "You can only break rules if you know them well" It's a quote by Bruce Lee.

Q. When and why do you give presentations?

To share my ideas to many people as possible. I can't achieve that goal if the opponent gets bored. In order to stay in their memory, I have to understand the theory of presentation. In addition, when the information is too much like bullet points, audience can't focus on neither senses, leaving them confused. Again, in order to keep the audience to listen, you have to build up your credibility. It is important to include a fact to back up your topic in the presentation. The presentation skills I teach are also based on rationale. Students who said "I can listen while reading" completely forgot about the topic. Not many people are capable of eidetic memory. Contradictory, eidetic memory memorizes slides in only seconds so the audience can focus on what the presentor is saying.

Please give us a comment addressed towards japanese students who will present in the future.

All students that I have taught in the past try to read off of scripts or notes while presenting. On the other hand, when I ask them to introduce their familiy, they can obviously do it without (the notes). Like they were capable of introducing thier family because of their knowledge about them, the presentor has to know very well about the topic. My number 1 rule is "no reading" off of scripts since neccesity of it = not knowing the topic. Another reason why is because the presentor can't communicate with the audience. With the connection between the audience makes a complete presentation. Just standing in front of people and reading the script can not be called a presentation.

You have to remember that you can not look at the notes in order to connect with the audience. Speak with eye contact. You don't worry about grammer issues. Vocabularies and phaseology is important in speeches, not presentations. The agenda of presenting is to let the audience memorise one's opinion, thoughts and information through non-language communication. Even if the grammer is wrong, what you are trying to say will be understood. I want them to understand the significant difference of the two.
speach: appeal with words presentation: Information transmission mean

Like there are cources for researching or for academic wrtings, presentation skills should be also taught to pupils.