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IOP ways to make the IOP less boring?

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guys, i was wondering if you could share your ideas on making the IOP more interesting.. i mean, people use flashcards, handouts, powerpoint presentations, blackboards... what else could i possibly work with?

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Whoah, wait a minute... More interesting than what? Than you? the subject you have chosen?

Are you sure you want these superficialities, anyway?

You can use flash cards, PowerPoint... but what about good, ol' fashioned passion? Without this, these aids are merely gimmicks.

Excuse me while I wax on about this point for a minute:

I expect you have seen TED's stellar presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, on "how schools kill creativity"? It is a hands-down prize-winning lecture. No ppt....No flash cards ... Just him. Alone, with his conviction, personality and simple rhetoric.

If you are thinking "I could never be as good" then what you have to ask yourself is this: Do I really care and believe in my topic?

Is what I have to say important and worthwhile (Am i convinced of this)? If you answer "yes" to all these, then I see little reason why you cannot approach your topic like him, in a personable, engaging manner (without striving to be Sir K Robinson - each to his/her own style, after all!).

And best of all, KR's rhetorical techniques are simple and familiar. Here are just a handful of ideas, if the no-gimmicks approach appeals:

You could open up with a carefully-chosen, personable, anecdote. Nothing too contrived either. We're all suckers for a good story.

If you are a little more daring, you could use something which may seem mysteriously extraneous or by-the-way to the topic at hand (causing some anxiety in your teacher and amused bewilderment from your classmates) but revealing itself within the first 2 minutes to be totally pertinent to your chosen subject. You thereby gain an element of surprise, relief and delight from the audience, if well thought out and executed,

A few other simple ideas, willy-nilly

-Never start with "Today I am going to talk about..."

-Give vivid, immediate, visceral examples...(Sir Ken R. is a great example of this)

-...avoid platitudes and too many generalizations

-Ask some rhetorical questions. These effectively involve your audience and get them thinking without requiring their answers (you may not have much time, after all, and people are slow to respond)

-If you have a great sense of humour and can communicate it, then use it for all it is worth to make a serious point. It should never be a tack-on or reduced to entertaining distraction ... Again, Sir K R. is a good example. I am sure he is not the only model, but he is the most approachable and relaxed that I know of - that many know well.

However, you have to have to know your subject inside-out, really feel for it, and have confidence in yourself. It requires practice too. But then that is what you are going to do anyway, right? Ditch the distractions, I say... Go for the real thing.

Edited by Blackcurrant
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blackcurrant said it the best :) Its all about how passionate and earnest you are in presenting your topic. You could use all the flashcards or powerpoints you wanted, but without your own interest, the presentation would just be boring. Use personal examples or stories in the beginning so that your audience is hooked onto your presentation. Be calm and confident. Don't rely too much on other props...often times an audience would prefer listening to you speak rather than reading a powerpoint presentation. Rehearse what you want to say really well so that it flows.

good luck :)

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Whoah, wait a minute... More interesting than what? Than you? than subject you have chosen?

Are you sure you want these superficialities, anyway?

You can use flash cards, PowerPoint... but what about good, ol' fashioned passion? Without this, these aids are merely gimmicks.

Excuse me while I wax on about this point for a minute:

I expect you have seen TED's stellar presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, on "how schools kill creativity"? It is a hands-down prize-winning lecture. No ppt....No flash cards ... Just him. Alone, with his conviction, personality and simple rhetoric.

If you are thinking "I could never be as good" then what you have to ask yourself is this: Do I really care and believe in my topic?

Is what I have to say important and worthwhile (Am i convinced of this)? If you answer "yes" to all these, then I see little reason why you cannot approach your topic like him, in a personable, engaging manner (without striving to be Sir K Robinson - each to his/her own style, after all!).

And best of all, KR's rhetorical techniques are simple and familiar. Here are just a handful of ideas, if the no-gimmicks approach appeals:

You could open up with a carefully-chosen, personable, anecdote. Nothing too contrived either. We're all suckers for a good story.

If you are a little more daring, you could use something which may seem mysteriously extraneous or by-the-way to the topic at hand (causing some anxiety in your teacher and amused bewilderment from your classmates) but revealing itself within the first 2 minutes to be totally pertinent to your chosen subject. You thereby gain an element of surprise, relief and delight from the audience, if well thought out and executed,

A few other simple ideas, willy-nilly

-Never start with "Today I am going to talk about..."

-Give vivid, immediate, visceral examples...(Sir Ken R. is a great example of this)

-...avoid platitudes and too many generalizations

-Ask some rhetorical questions. These effectively involve your audience and get them thinking without requiring their answers (you may not have much time, after all, and people are slow to respond)

-If you have a great sense of humour and can communicate it, then use it for all it is worth to make a serious point. It should never be a tack-on or reduced to entertaining distraction ... Again, Sir K R. is a good example. I am sure he is not the only model, but he is the most approachable and relaxed that I know of - that many know well.

However, you have to have to know your subject inside-out, really feel for it, and have confidence in yourself. It requires practice too. But then that is what you are going to do anyway, right? Ditch the distractions, I say... Go for the real thing.

hey, thanks for answering..

no, not more interesting than me, of course.:P

well, my teacher was talking to us about including these few things(obviously not overdoing them) but maybe he wanted us to keep the audience involved through these creative means..

okay, it seems as if KR has really inspired you.. and now i'm eager to check out his presentation so i'll do that..

i guess i do have a great sense of humor but i don't think involving it in this topic would be relevant, but i'll still think it out..

okay the main reason i started this topic was because the audience, mostly my classmates, they're boring.. in this context.. i mean they won't really take part in the presentation.. nearly all of them have no idea about what the book is about! i know, its sad :P

wait, so you're suggesting me not to practice?

blackcurrant said it the best :) Its all about how passionate and earnest you are in presenting your topic. You could use all the flashcards or powerpoints you wanted, but without your own interest, the presentation would just be boring. Use personal examples or stories in the beginning so that your audience is hooked onto your presentation. Be calm and confident. Don't rely too much on other props...often times an audience would prefer listening to you speak rather than reading a powerpoint presentation. Rehearse what you want to say really well so that it flows.

good luck :)

thanks.. i agree with what you guys are talking about,, but again.. the audience also plays an important role in this, right? i can plan out a perfect presentation.. but they just won't take part.. i fear i might have to ask them to do so before the presentation..

okay, you mentioned personal examples.. are you sure? and in what sense personal? if the central idea in my presentation is love(it actually isn't..) how would i put a personal example in it?

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If I understand you right, and to clarify a bit what i wrote earlier, personal does not necessarily mean "revealing", "intimate" ... or necessarily even about you, but something told feelingly or told from your perspective. I may be expressing the idea clumsily, but here's an example

To go back to The TED Presentation (if you are not getting too sick of this particular example ;)) KR tells the poignant story of a girl diagnosed with ADHD, who, when left alone in the specialist's office, gets up and dances to the music on the radio which had been turned on expressly by the psychologist before he left. Both mother and psychologist observe the girl through the window, without the girl being aware. The specialist turns to the mother and says "Mrs Z, your daughter is not sick; she is a dancer." KR tells the story feelingly - note the pauses, repetition, tone of voice, emphasis, tempo - and it serves to add urgency to his (personal) views of education. The story of the girl in this case suits KR's message and purpose. It could serve other purposes and illustrate other arguments, but here KR has made it part of a logical argument to emphasize *his* point. No doubt this is stating the obvious, but that is what I mean by "personalizing". Hope this is not complicating things unduly.

You are quite right to point to the role of audience; you cannot ignore their attitudes, needs ...or your own. Ethos, pathos.... I do not know your class, but there may be something to the idea "fulfilling expectations": one does have a hand in creating audience. Your high (or low) expectations can result in a corresponding rise in (or lowering of) interest or general intelligence; but I am not convinced this follows inevitably and one must be realistic. Still, what counts in the IOP is quality of ideas and engagement - not just that of the audience but your own engagement with the material. See what you can manage with them anyway.

Anyway, to give space to others in this thread, I'll PM from now on.

Edited by Blackcurrant
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If I understand you right, and to clarify a bit what i wrote earlier, personal does not necessarily mean "revealing", "intimate" ... or necessarily even about you, but something told feelingly or told from your perspective. I may be expressing the idea clumsily, but here's an example

To go back to KR (if you are not getting too sick of hearing about him ;)) his story of the girl who gets up and dances to the music in the sociologist's office is told feelingly - note the pauses, repetition, tone of voice, emphasis, tempo - and serves to add urgency to KR's (personal) views of education. The story of the girl in this case suits his message and purpose. It could serve other purposes and illustrate other arguments, but here KR has made it part of a logical argument to emphasize *his* point. No doubt this is stating the obvious, but that is what I mean by "personalizing". Hope this is not complicating things unduly.

You are quite right to point to the role of audience; you cannot ignore their attitudes, needs ...or your own. Ethos, pathos.... I do not know your class, but there may be something to the idea "fulfilling expectations": one has some hand in creating one's audience. Your own high expectations can result in a corresponding rise in interest or intelligence; but I am not convinced this follows inevitably and one must be realistic. Still, what counts essentially in the IOP is quality of ideas and engagement - yours, if not that of your audience. See what you can do.

Anyway, to give space to others in this thread, I'll PM from now on.

oh, right.. personal in that context..i think i kind of got it, do correct me if i'm wrong.. i can simply pick an example from the book which relates to my theme and i should dissect it and further dispatch it from my perspective and the way i see it all.. is that it? sort of?

haha no, you can use more examples from his presentation if you wish.. though this one is good enough, i'll check it out and maybe then i can relate it to your example..

yeah i guess i just have to make it appealing enough to keep everyone interested..

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