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The dialogic presentation - an alternative presentation approach to decrease anxiety and increase inclusivity 

Design for Delivery
Student Experience

Presentations are widely used as a means of formative and summative assessment.  However it is widely acknowledged that they can increase stress and anxiety levels in presenters and are less inclusive due to the nature of the task.  This blog post introduces an alternative to the traditional presentation – the dialogic presentation – which uses a different set up with the aim of increasing confidence, independence and criticality in the spoken task. 

What did you do? Why did you do it?   

Before the session, I asked students to produce a powerpoint as though they were to carry out a normal presentation.  During the session I placed students in groups of 3 to 4 to sit around small tables.  Each student then gave their presentation whilst showing their powerpoint on their laptop to the other group members.  At the same time group members were invited to interact with the presenter at any point during the presentation to develop a dialogue about the content rather than simply a monologue.  I did not set a time limit so that presenters did not feel restricted and so there was enough time to discuss presentations in full. 

What was the impact of your practice and how have you evaluated it?

I have included this activity formatively in my module Language for Science ELU3015, with teachers positively reporting increased speaking confidence in students and the opportunity for them to develop their critical thinking through the interaction with group members. 

How could others benefit from this example?  

This activity could be an option for assessment for all learners and could be particularly beneficial students whose first language is not English, students with additional learning needs and students with anxiety and confidence issues.  As we look to creating options for their assessments, we could allow students to choose this activity if they don’t wish to undertake a traditional presentation. 


Laura Dyer,, Language Centre

Do you have an example of your practice to share?

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