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Tips for A1 Individual Oral Presentation

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#1
Sandwich

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Tips for the A1 Individual Oral Presentation (IOP)

Skip to: Marking Criteria

1. Topics can be quite general
This isn't like the World Literature papers where your question has to be absolutely dead on target. You can pick from themes, characters, symbols, sections and so on. You're at liberty to make this into something of a discussion topic and you shouldn't fret too much about what title you give to the presentation, provided you can give it a decent introduction and conclusion. Even something as simple as "the theme of Death in Book X" should be fine. Remember the IOP is pretty chilled out (which is why it's often the first thing to be tackled).

2. Use your presenting skills
When you're presenting to somebody, you have to use basic presentation skills. If you learn them now, you'll have them for later life, courtesy of IB Finishing School :P Absolute basics include being audible (not mumbling, not whispering, trying not to stammer or stutter such that your whole thing is incomprehensible etc.) and making eye contact with the audience.
Some quick tips for how to raise your game above the absolute basics include...
- Varying the tone of your voice so you're not speaking in a monotone. People will sit up and pay attention.
- Trying to look at everybody at some point during your presentation, even if they're asleep on their bags or something, because you'll be showing the teacher your extreme eye contact skills.
- Using props where necessary, or perhaps a powerpoint presentation (these are nonessential... lots of presentations won't really need props at all)
- Use body language. Stand up and stand confidently (not hunched over wishing you weren't there). Use your hands to aid your speech as you would in normal conversation, perhaps slightly more.

3. Think about your own visual cues
Don't read off a piece of paper! However, this doesn't mean you have to be totally off-paper (that would be crazy). Some people can go without any notes at all, and they will be the people who've memorised what they're about to say. Good for them, but no worries for everybody else, it's not compulsory! Besides, it's easy to drop into a monotone when you're just repeating things. The majority of people sit somewhere in the middle, and I would urge you to think about what works for you, and to remember one simple thing: it's not about what you have with you, it's about how you deliver it. They say not to read off paper because of the sort of delivery it produces (total lack of engaging the audience, stumbling whilst trying to read your own terrible handwriting etc.). You could technically have it written out word for word but only look down at it twice and it would be brilliant. SO what I'm really trying to get at is that you should go with whatever visual cues will best aid you being able to present in an engaging manner with minimal reference to said cues.
To give my own personal experience, I liked to write out reasonably detailed notes (not word for word, but more sentences than just bullet points) because I felt much more secure presenting if I knew that looking down would put me back on track instantly without having to worry about what my bullet point meant, or having a mind blank. Use your cues to work for you and not against you and avoid lapsing into either reading or terrible silence.

4. Refer to the text
Just because you're presenting something, it doesn't mean you can forget about literary analysis. Include examples in the form of quotes from novels, i.e. don't forget the basics.

5. Express enthusiasm or prepare for audience apathy
You don't actually lose marks for doing something boring but it's so much more rewarding (and easy) to present if you can get the audience on side. You'll probably have to sit and watch each other's presentations for several lessons until everybody has finished and the audience will therefore be split into 2: people who're nervously clutching damp pieces of paper because they're in the firing line for going next, and people who're sleeping contentedly on their desks. Neither of these groups are likely to want to listen to you unless you're telling them something interesting, but if they DO start listening and you spot them doing this, you'll feel your nerves melting away. So if you at least pretend to be enthusiastic about a topic (or even better select something interesting!) I guarantee you'll find that not only do they pay more attention and enjoy it more, but you'll also get more positive feedback, nicer questions (if they ask questions), and will give a much better delivery.

6. Although the option is there, don't feel you have to make it too interactive
You can be really interactive and creative, or not interactive at all. If you are not interactive at all, you should ask for questions at the end. You don't HAVE to be interactive if there's no point or you don't want to be. If it's clearly idiotic and a sop to the concept of interactivity to take a poll on who the class's favourite character is, don't do it! You don't have to do polls or ask questions throughout your presentation if you don't want to.

7. Think about how to make your preparation work best for you
Some people like to practice their presentation over and over again before giving it so they feel secure in what they're doing. Other people find the whole thing much easier if they don't practice it before so they don't get distracted or monotonal by thinking how they did it the previous times. Do what's best for you, not what's best for whoever you're talking to about it. If you DO like to practice it, practice with a friend or family member so they can tell you what you should change (if anything). Regardless of whether you do or don't like to practice it in advance, a really good idea is to ask your teacher to let you do a practice IOP on a different topic before you sit down to devise the actual thing. It'll build up your confidence and let you have some individual feedback.

8. Time yourself!
... or if you don't like practising it, think very hard about how long it might take and what you should do if you find yourself going over time. Don't forget about this bit!

9. If you're nervous...
Imagine it's just a conversation like you'd have with your classmates at any other time! Or imagine you're somebody else, or that you're performing on a stage in the character of somebody else... really, imagine whatever helps you. Make sure you feel secure about the amount of supporting material you have, make sure you think you've done a good job with the topic (even better that you're enthusiastic about telling everybody what you've found) and if you find practice useful, that you've practised well in advance and are happy about it. Then just chill out. People tend to pick up lots of marks in the IOP. Relative to other assessments for A1, it's very light-hearted and relaxed. The more nervous you are, the less likely you are to perform at your best, so build up your confidence in what you're doing and how you're going to do it.

Hopefully those're all helpful hints. Please feel free to post some of your own and I'll edit them into this thread with some credit, or if you have constructive comments to make on the tips already up there, those are also welcome! :)


Marking Criteria
These are taken directly from the syllabus. Ask yourself all these questions and see if you're hitting all of the marks! As with everything Lit A1, the criteria are somewhat vague and difficult to self-assess, but do your best to aim for these as goals.

Spoiler


#2
Tilia

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Isn't it called individual oral presentation? So it does not have to be interactive at all.

When you write your notes, I suggest you are extra detailed for the introduction part, since that's when you're going to be the most nervous.
Don't forget literary features and especially their effects.

#3
Sandwich

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Isn't it called individual oral presentation? So it does not have to be interactive at all.

When you write your notes, I suggest you are extra detailed for the introduction part, since that's when you're going to be the most nervous.
Don't forget literary features and especially their effects.


Just looked it up in the syllabus and you're quite correct! We always referred to it as interactive in lessons. I feel vaguely ashamed I made it all the way through 2 years of IB without ever looking it up, to be honest! xP Fixed now.

#4
Tilia

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Isn't it called individual oral presentation? So it does not have to be interactive at all.

When you write your notes, I suggest you are extra detailed for the introduction part, since that's when you're going to be the most nervous.
Don't forget literary features and especially their effects.


Just looked it up in the syllabus and you're quite correct! We always referred to it as interactive in lessons. I feel vaguely ashamed I made it all the way through 2 years of IB without ever looking it up, to be honest! xP Fixed now.

Well, most other oral are called "interactive something", so it's a fairly easy mistake to make.

#5
sweetnsimple786

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That's a brilliant list, Sandwich. Here's something from my experience.
Choosing the type of topic can be hard.

There are three basic categories that I'm familiar with.
1) A formal lecture type deal where the presenter speaks on the topic, and the audience listens.
2) A group discussion, where the presenter talks about the topic and then asks engaging questions about it to the class. [You have to prepare significantly for this because the class might take the discussion to places you haven't considered, so while it's fun, it'll be hard if you're not paying attention to the discussion or if you're not really familiar with the material and you're not good at being flexible.]
3) A creative piece that shows analysis and interpretation like an interview, skit that shows something not in the book[s], re-enactment of a scene, a poem or letter written by one of the characters, etc [This one's hard because you are creating something, so you're devoting a lot of time and effort into the original aspect, but you also have to show that you're critically analyzing the work. You can do this if you're creating a new scene by putting care into the characters' dialogue, expressions, body language, costumes, tone of voice, etc. It's a lot to consider, but it can be a great deal of fun to watch and make.]

These certainly don't constrict what you have to do. They're just examples and guidelines, but you've got a lot of freedom here. I did an informal lecture-type deal. I started off with some questions and played off how the class felt about the villains of the two books I was doing my IOP on. Then I just discussed what I thought, with references to the novels and some culture. I wanted to just be able to talk about what I found interesting. I didn't want it to be formal. My language was even less formal than the way I wrote this post, which helped me worry less. And I rehearsed it a lot, so I pretty much memorized what I wanted to say because I wanted to impress someone... (cough, cough) :)

Also, this a random-ish thing, but I suggest you stick to a max of comparing two works. With three works, you're pressed for time if you try to go into great depth/analysis, so you might not get the points you need. I didn't even know doing an IOP on one work was an option. Just don't do more than two. My teacher said don't do more than three, but if you've got something to say, then you'll realize that the more you think about it, the more you have to say. And you have to make the presentation between 10 and 15 minutes long.

#6
Center Field

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Good list!

Here are some things that helped me for the IOP(This might repeat things that have been already stated)

1. DO not procrastinate! Get it done quickly enough so that you have plenty of time to rehearse your presentation. This means starting as early as possible.
2. Rehearse at least five times before your presentation date. This will allow you to work out any kinks in your presentation.
3. Use academic language in a clear manner when defining your interpretations. Make sure you know what you are saying. It is key!
4. Look the graders and students in the eye, and be calm. It will make you seem more human and solidify your composure.
5. While studying and preparing, BREATH! Being cool, calm, and collected while preparing will help maintain the quality of your interpretations.
6. In terms of the interpretation itself, it cannot be too specific, or too vague. Make sure you can back your arguments with evidence from the text. Be logical.
7. Use textual evidence and refer to it during the presentation. Enough said.
8. When you rehearse, time yourself to make sure you are within the time range.
9. Do not try to cram info into your presentation. This will make you rush.
10. I cannot stress rehearsals enough. The more of them you do the less nervous you will be. Your articulation will be more fluid.
11. Choose a topic you like. If you do not like the literature you study in class in any way, at least try to make it fun. It will help.

#7
ibisgh3y

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The most important is probably to analyse the techniques whether you are studying English or Chinese literature, how and why the authors use that technique and aspect.

#8
caroline.eden

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so i was completely confused on what to do for my IOP presentation and was desperately searching this website for at least 1 hour.
finally, i found this post from 2 years ago about how to make a stellar IOP.
you can find it here:
http://www.ibsurviva...e-great-gatsby/
it is a freaking lifesaver, i hope it helps others too!

#9
jonrb

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1. Topics can be quite general

I found (and my teacher agrees) that the narrower the field, the better you do. With too wide a field you run the risk of missing something important out. Our school had a student do his IOP on the importance of shoes in a novel.

#10
IB-Adam

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I would suggest people to have a powerpoint presentation for three reasons.
It is very easy to orally practice once you have made your powerpoint. First it might go a little rustily but I promise, it won't take more than a hour until you get perfect!
Secondly, you can easily estimate how much time your presentation will take. It is not that hard to hold a presentation for 10-15 mins, shorter presentations are harder.
Last but not least :crying:, You will feel much less nervous because your audience will not look at you which perhaps could feel more comfortably when you're standing out there in front of an ugly audience!
Good luck!, (I have only done a test IOP)

Edited by IB-Adam, Nov 27, 2010 - 21:55.


#11
Summer Glau

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Also, a powerpoint is good to have because you won't forget where you are in your presentation! I used a powerpoint to show my main points and supporting quotes to the class, while I had an explanation for everything written in my own notes :)

#12
Beastern

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Hey. :) What are the grade boundaries for IOP?

#13
An Almost Graduate

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I wrote out every word of my IOP and got 28/30. Teachers frown upon reading your IOP word for word, but there's actually nowhere where you can be penalized, so who cares if they don't like it?

I did my IOP on The Edible Woman and I talked about how Margaret Atwood uses the character Ainsley to create disdain for selfish feminists. I reread the entire novel and copied down all the relevant quotations. I then tried to incorporate every aspect I could of my research into the 15 minute presentation. I tied it all back to my thesis that Atwood creates disdain as she satirizes Ainsley.

In about 15 minutes, I put together a simple power point.

#14
Sandwich

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That's unusual. Or perhaps it's my school that was unusual, but many of the points for Presentation/Language including coherence, persuasiveness, structure, register and style also took into account your ability to speak unaided, as if you read off a sheet you can't do any of those things quite as well as somebody who is engaging and fluent. I suppose it wasn't so much the speaking unaided as the engagement aspect. People with decent presentations who nevertheless read word for word from sheets were very heavily penalised in my class :blink: I don't think any of them got above 20. We did several practice presentations before the real one and people's marks improved largely in line with their presentation skills!

It's interesting that those criteria must have been interpreted differently. I suppose people ought to make sure what their individual teacher's approach is before choosing one over the other, perhaps.

#15
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Hey.. im doing my IOP on Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. my topic is based on symbolism of america and india int he stories. But the problem im facing is trying to figure out exactly what symbolism means! I mean what TYPE of points can i include under it :S ???

#16
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Hey.. im doing my IOP on Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. my topic is based on symbolism of america and india int he stories. But the problem im facing is trying to figure out exactly what symbolism means! I mean what TYPE of points can i include under it :S ???


I haven't read the novel :(

Symbolism is a literary device in which an image or action that stands for more than itself. Like, a pile of books may remind me of the IB, the shiny head of my math teacher, rows of lockers in hallways, memories of failed smartboards. A symbol is different from a simile or metaphor in the way that similes/metaphors name connections between seemingly dissimilar images, a symbol suggests a range of connections. As a result, not all symbols may be understood by everyone.

Symbols can be of two types, personal ( which only mean something to you) and universal ( which are common to everyone. aka archetypes). An example of an archetype would be the connection between spring and rebirth.

Hope you got what you were looking for!


( Source: "The Discovery of Poetry" Frances Mayes)

#17
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Yes, do make a powerpoint, but a couple cautions:

1. DO NOT READ OFF YOUR POWERPOINT. It's boring, and probably worse than reading of your paper. The powerpoint should be used for visual reinforcement, and maybe a couple bullet points maximum. I'm taking about the water motif in Lord of the Flies and a selection of poetry, and the powerpoint is being used to reinforce what I'm saying about imagery and symbolism.

2. Make sure you know when to change slides. If you're using cue cards, but your slide changes on there. I have seen presentations before where they switch slide and either go back, continue talking even though the slide no longer has anything to do with what they're saying, or skip ahead and lose fluidity to keep up with slide changes.

#18
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what i found useful is to find a theme in your passage and as you go through your text and annotate it link it to the theme

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I wrote out every word of my IOP and got 28/30. Teachers frown upon reading your IOP word for word, but there's actually nowhere where you can be penalized, so who cares if they don't like it?


That's strange. My teacher says that before, the way you held your presentation (with tone, eye-contact, enthusiasm etc) was not in the marking criteria, so it wouldn't affect your grade. Now they have changed that, she says (and looks very pleased) :(
Oh, well. I suppose there are more marks to gain from this change than to loose. And also, it makes sense. No one wants to listen to someone whispering behind a sheet of paper, not in IB nor in real life (e.g. politics).

#20
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I am doing my IOP to characterize Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia. But I need a creative idea on how to start the monologue.

I am going to show their characters by the letters they wrote to each other about Lydia's scandal but I don't know how to start it.

My teacher gave me an idea that Elizabeth should be looking back on the old letters she saved but if I do that i am not sure how to not make the audience confused about who is talking. Shouldn't I have an introduction like a narrator introducing the scene? Help please....I have to present this really soon....