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Entries in unvetted presentation (1)

Tuesday
Jan112011

JALT 2010: An Unvetted Experience 

By Kelly Butler

In November 2010, I was able to represent the Osaka chapter of JALT as last year’s unvetted presenter. I had been completely unaware of this type of opportunity – to present at the conference without having to submit the abstract to the conference committee directly. Instead, as a member of Osaka JALT, I was able to apply through the Chapter. The process is simple: submit an abstract, the officers read it and accept or reject it, and if accepted, it’s a one-way ticket into the national JALT conference. This opportunity is only available for first-time presenters, and each chapter of JALT can only submit one proposal. Submitting my proposal was such an easy process that I’d like to recommend it for anyone who is a first time presenter.

My topic was using film clips in the classroom. To prepare, I created my slides while working on my corresponding conference proceedings paper. The process of outlining the slides for the presentation became an outline for the paper, while the paper helped me fill in the gaps in the presentation.  I heard about an opportunity to practice my presentation at a Kyoto JALT meeting in October, and this was one of the best possible opportunities for me to practice for my actual presentation.  I limited my slides to 20, made the film clips ready to play on the computer, and wrote a handout.

I was surprised by the encouragement I was given at the practice presentation.  The feedback from the Kyoto participants was very useful: the slides needed more connection; the handout had been language activities but the attendees wanted references, a place to take notes, a list of language activities and my Top 10 Ideas for making video easier to use in the classroom.   It was clear how much more I needed to make the presentation my own; I needed to know exactly what I wanted to say without having to refer to the slides at all.

The conference was great. Although I was given a Monday morning time slot – not the most desirable – I had about ten attendees.  My presentation went well: I knew what I wanted to say, the handout was easy to read and useful, the technology worked seamlessly, the attendees participated in the discussion, bringing their own ideas and asked interesting, useful questions, while informing me about new technologies being used with films.

All in all, my experience as Osaka JALT’s unvetted presenter was a simple, successful, satisfying experience. I highly recommend that JALT members who have never presented at the national JALT conference who may feel intimidated about the process of submitting a presentation proposal first try submitting an unvetted abstract. It’ll help you ease your way in and give you confidence for the next year. You’ll also learn a lot in the process.