Powerpointing Grammar - EFL Tech Tip #13b

One of my favourite quotes is :

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
Mark Van Doren

PowerPoint is one of those tools - really not quite as fancy as the vast majority of web2.0 tools out there at the moment but, nonetheless, still a favorite for achieving the above effectively.

I'm sure you've already done this sort of exercise with your own students - handing over content control - probably using great big A3 sheets of paper and giant markers all throughout your career ;-) so I won't belabor the point but simply head straight on to an example of student work:

The Dark Past


  • Group a few students together and encourage each group to decide on one particular grammar point or series of points they would like to be in charge of.  This is especially useful close to an exam when they need a review or at the end of a course.  
  • Using books or the internet, they should check on their understanding of the explanations and, most importantly, must decide collaboratively how to explain this information in the simplest way within their own presentations.  
  • Using Powerpoint (or any similar software) they then create the slides, adding pictures, graphics, sound or videos (or whatever else).
  • Let them choose who will be the teacher for each group and if you have a beamer (data projector) beam their presentation on the wall, if not, print out.


If you're using a Ning or other community based platform either upload the presentation directly into it or upload them into a file-sharing website like Scribd.com or Slideshare.net.

Alternatively, distribute copies via email so that all copies can be revised at home - encourage questions and examples a few days later, after the presentation has finished.

Update June 2010, a simpler student example:

Prepositions of Place 1


Useful links related to this posting:
Powerpointing me, tech tip 13a
Seth Dickens version of Powerpointing me
Using Powerpoint when teaching metaphors in Financial English

Coming soon: 
Powerpointing Lexical Sets 13c
Powerpointing Country Guides 13d

Have you tried this sort of activity with students?  How much error-correction  or other meddling do you do  - what about if you see a strange choice of images or an incorrect explanation?

And, by the way, if you've got another great Powerpoint activity suggestion don't hesitate to share your tricks and tips with us by explaining in the comments or if you've blogged it, do add your url.   (Or consider writing a guest piece for this blog on the subject! :-))

2 Responses to “Powerpointing Grammar - EFL Tech Tip #13b”

  • David V. says:
    January 30, 2010

    I'm also a big fan of using PowerPoint, and I'm in the fortunate position of having projectors in most of my classrooms.

    My students have to give presentations later on in their academic careers, so it's good that I get the opportunity to 'train' them, having said that they usually are able to show me a trick or two.

  • Twintensity says:
    January 30, 2010

    Especially enjoyed the fact that you used an example - past tenses -that I have difficulty with as a native English speaker! Well, American anyway.


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