Sep 29

Is Pecha Kucha (pe-chak-cha) Spreading Around The ELT World?

It was the IATEFL Cardiff Conference programme where I saw the name “Pecha Kucha” for the first time in my life. “A Pecha Kucha night hosted by Lindsay Clandfield.”

The description was interesting: This year’s theme is “A Magical Mystery Tour of English Language Teaching”. New speakers and new topics but the rules remain the same: each speaker is allowed a slideshow of 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds, giving a total presentation time of six minutes and forty seconds before the next speaker is up. The result is a fantastic informative and entertaining evening!

I had a GREAT time that night. Nicky Hockly’s session was the most memorable one for me! You can view the presentations here.

Presenting a topic in 6 minutes 40 seconds is much more difficult to present it in a 45-minute talk. It requires more background work and twenty slides that do a lot of talking for you.

I’m doing my first Pecha Kucha in TESOL France Colloquium on 6, November. My topic is Twitter. I feel comfortable talking about Twitter and knowing that people underestimate its power makes me speak more… I’m still working on my presentation. Adding, deleting, editing parts… It takes a lot of time. I’m hoping not to fail:-)

Thank you Lindsay, for doing a great job. I’m hoping to see you in Istanbul hosting a Pecha Kucha night:-) It seems to be spreading around the ELT world!

Here are some links about Pecha Kucha:

Pecha Kucha Night
Pecha Kucha, Wikipedia
Six Things About Pecha Kucha in ELT by Lindsay Clandfield


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  1. Heike Philp

    Hi Burcu,

    I am really pleased this is taking of because of the fun.

    Have received the word that there may be one at the Online Educa 2009 run by Jay Cross himself.

    As far as I know he is still looking for presenters there.

    Anybody going and willing?

    Rgds Heike

  2. Tamas Lorincz

    When I first heard about Pecha Kutcha from Lindsay Clandfield I didn’t really get it. Then I saw the recording of the two that at IATEFL this year and last year and I was amazed. To have 20 people do one presentation about Second Life, and then this year’s video with some of the most influential speakers of our profession (some of whom quite enjoy the sound of their voice 😉
    I’m glad you’re doing yours in 20-second “chirps” about Twitter. You’ve done so much to excite, enthuse teachers about this brilliant tool, me being one of them.
    I hope your [pe-chak-cha] will be also available. Good luck with it.

  3. Lindsay Clandfield

    Hi Burcu

    Thanks for sharing about this, yes I think it is spreading around the ELT world! I am hosting one this year in Budapest (this weekend in fact) and in Paris too where I will be joined by several speakers including Gavin Dudeney, Penny Ur, Ken Wilson, Jamie Keddie and of course yourself!

    There have been PK in ELT at two IATEFL conferences (and one for next year too) at TESOL France, TESOL Spain (we had one in a restaurant, lots of fun) and in Germany too. There has been one at a Japanese conference too I believe.

    It’s fun and different, let’s see if it continues spreading. By the way, I have a site all about it in ELT here http://www.freewebs.com/pechakucha-elt/

    See you in Paris Burcu!

  4. Barbara Sakamoto

    Great memories! I loved the IATEFL pechakucha.

    I look forward to seeing more presentations move in this direction–it’s a really fun way to share information, and makes presenters get to the point :)
    .-= Barbara Sakamoto´s last blog ..Life on the Learning Curve =-.

  5. Orsi

    Hi Burcu,

    I read your post right after I came home from the IATEFL Hungary Conference where I heard some really nice ‘pecha-kuchaists’ (not quite sure how to put suffixes on this one, but neither was Lindsay, so maybe we have the liberty to use whatever sounds good). I think it’s a brilliant idea!

    During long presentations and lectures I always wonder how much I will take home from this, sometimes taking notes helps but sometimes it doesn’t. Pecha-kuchas are so much fun, it’s easier to recall the information at home. I don’t now how, but I’ll definitely try it with my students. Some of the older ones might actually get the hang of it :) Thanks for the lovely video illustration
    .-= Orsi´s last blog ..Tea, tea and some more tea =-.

  6. Nick Jaworski

    I’ve been hearing a lot about PK recently, but this video was my first chance to see it in action. I’m going to be the Doubting Thomas here, but I really didn’t see much value in this. Yes, some presentations are too long and some people don’t know how to be concise or use Powerpoint well, but forcing people to present on large topics in 6 minutes and 40 seconds seems a bit ridiculous. This is great if the topics are small, but people are biting off pretty big chunks in these presentations and not going very far.

    Imagine if I told all my students that we’d now be learning different aspects of English in 6 minutes or less. How useful would that be? This is exactly the type of thing I often have to fight against in Turkey, especially among the Turkish staff. They love to shove massive amounts of info down students’ throats in a short amount of time. Have you ever seen a teacher teach all 5 functions of like, including all the exceptions to rules they could think of, to a beginner class in less than an hour. I have. I found as much value in watching those presentations as the students did in that teacher’s class.

    These speeches all seemed to be focused more on an entertainment value than an educational one. Everyone seemed rushed and more interested in telling jokes (not that humor isn’t important in a presentation). Watching 20 people rush through their second life lives didn’t seem very beneficial to me. I know I didn’t get much out of it.

    I think this could be a useful format for bite-sized chunks of info and the idea of limiting a speaker to a time limit in order to keep him or her concise isn’t all that bad, but I often find that 45 minutes is hardly enough to do a presentation and all the great presentations I’ve seen always have to rush up at the end. If your 45 minute presentation is drawn out and boring it’s because you’re not a good presenter and haven’t chosen your info carefully, not because you have too much time. PK comes across as more of a fad than as an effective presentation format.

    I’ll be interested to see if anyone agrees with me.
    .-= Nick Jaworski´s last blog ..The Teacher as Narrative: Moving from a Teacher-centered to Learner-centered Classroom =-.

    1. Lindsay Clandfield

      Hi Nick, and thanks for your comment. You have a very valid point about things speeding up in society in general, and if I think about it critically I would say that Pecha Kucha is also guilty of that.

      But, nobody is suggesting either of the following:

      1 that all presentations at conferences be in the Pecha Kucha style

      2 that all teaching be in this style

      On the contrary, I think that a conference all done in Pecha Kucha would be too much. it would be manic! We usually restrict it to 8 presentations, it is an evening event and yes it is part of the entertainment just as storytelling evenings or theatre evenings are common at ELT conferences.

      It does make people think more about what they are saying though, and not in fact relying so much on technology since that element has been taken out of their control. Some people do better than others. Some go for jokes, others go more serious. Because it is an evening thing after a long day of long presentations the majority find it invigorating. Plus seeing it online isn’t the same as being there. I’d be the first to admit that. By the way, I also enjoy long presentations (as a speaker and a listener).

      As for teaching, the only time I would do a PK with students would be as a one-off exercise to get students (eg business students) to work on speaking skills (not speaking quickly, but learning to to time themselves and speak without the crutch of powerpoint). I would never advocate a PK syllabus or as a way of teaching. Just as I would not advocate doing all texts in running dictation mode, but I like that activity from time to time.

      I personally view it as fun, and a different kind of challenge. Nothing more.
      .-= Lindsay Clandfield´s last blog ..Six original topical teaching ideas for October =-.

      1. Lindsay Clandfield

        Now that I think about it, an excellent pecha kucha presentation could be “What’s wrong with Pecha Kucha and the hyperspeed society we now live in”. If you’re up for it Nick, I’d be happy to include! :-)
        .-= Lindsay Clandfield´s last blog ..Six original topical teaching ideas for October =-.

        1. Nick Jaworski

          Oh, there’s a little reply button. Missed that. Sounds like a great idea for a Pecha Kucha, haha :). I didn’t understand the include part though? Include what?
          .-= Nick Jaworski´s last blog ..The Teacher as Narrative: Moving from a Teacher-centered to Learner-centered Classroom =-.

  7. Nick Jaworski

    Hmmm, if it’s just part of an evening I can see the value, especially since it seems more light-hearted and could be a nice break. I had assumed that the entire conference was held this way.

    As for all teaching being done in this style, I don’t think PK advocates this or any teaching style for that matter; it’s simply a presentation format. But, I do question the educational value of such a presentation, hence my analogy to our classrooms. Perhaps it’s just that I haven’t seen one I really liked yet.

    I appreciate the re-comment (is that what you call it?:P) It helped me clear up my confusion on the point of these presentations.
    .-= Nick Jaworski´s last blog ..The Teacher as Narrative: Moving from a Teacher-centered to Learner-centered Classroom =-.

    1. Lindsay Clandfield

      Hi there,
      Thanks for the response to my response. I understand more where you’re coming from now too. By “include you” (see your other reply below) I meant “include you in a future Pecha Kucha lineup” at a conference we coincide at that includes one of those evenings. Will there be a Pecha Kucha in Turkey one day I wonder. Burcu?
      .-= Lindsay Clandfield´s last blog ..Six original topical teaching ideas for October =-.

      1. Nick Jaworski

        Well, I have always tried to live by the motto, “don’t knock it till you try it.”, which I broke here. I’m in if you are. Inshallah it shall happen one day. :)
        .-= Nick Jaworski´s last blog ..The Teacher as Narrative: Moving from a Teacher-centered to Learner-centered Classroom =-.

  8. mark andrews

    Hiya all,

    Thoroughly enjoyed doing a Pecha Kucha talk at IATEFL Hungary in Budapest last Saturday night. The preparation involves thinking about all the issues of good pedagogy, getting the balance right between fun and seriousness, engaging everybody in the room, using the space available to the best effect, selecting suitable content which people can relate too (in our case ELT material and in my case something that was specific to Budapest) and sensing the mood of the audience depending on the time of the evening it takes place. You are also constantly reminded, in the preparation of your presentation, of what is appropriate or not in the actual composition of the slides and how slides should be ordered. I think that the 20 second limit is excellent, as it ensures that you don’t put up too much stuff to read and I’m sure it makes you more conscious of your own presentation skills when you do less frenetic presentations yourself. I’m sure for those watching, after all the laughter is over, it also leads to critical self-reflection on their own powerpoint presentations. And as Orsi mentioned, doing it with your students is a great idea and is likely to develop creativity, confidence and presentation skills in general. It definitely gets my vote. We also had a good mixture of presenters, Hungarian, English, German and Canadian, two women and four men, four resident in Hungary and two from other countries. Thanks Lindsay for hosting it, good luck Burcu with your Paris performance and to anyone who might be sceptical about the whole thing, give it a try, either yourself or prepare your students for a similar event. The Szekszárd wine in the interval may also have enhanced the performers of the three presenters who went on in the second half, myself included.

    Mark Andrews (pecha kucha debutant)

  9. burcuakyol

    Finally I’m here:-) First of all, thank you for your comments Heike, Tamas, Lindsay, Barbara, Orsi, Nick and Mark.

    Dear Heike, if I do well in Paris, I will have the courage to volunteer for the future ones:-)

    Tamas thank you for your kind and encouraging words. Yes, it makes sense when you see a Pecha Kucha presentation, especially if the presentations are good. There were brilliant presentations in Cardiff.

    Dear Mark and Orsi, I heard that the IATEFL conference in Hungary was great. I’m hoping to attend next year’s conference.

    Dear Nick, it was a nice discussion between you and Lindsay. I think Pecha Kucha events liven up conferences. I loved the relaxing atmosphere after a whole day of workshops in Cardiff.

    Lindsay, I really want to have a Pecha Kucha event in Istanbul and I would like to invite you for the big conference I’m planning to organize in March. I’ll write to you about it soon.



  10. Alex Case

    Thanks, didn’t know there was a video of this now famous event. Make sure you put yours up too after you do it!
    .-= Alex Case´s last blog ..Karenne on The Industry- Interview Part Three =-.

  11. Heike Philp

    There will definitely be a pecha kucha at the Online Educa 2009.

    Jay Cross is organising it and he has invited me to co-moderate.

    We are still looking for ingenious volunteers.

    Is anybody of you going to be there in Berlin beginning December 2009?

    Kudos to Lindsey for getting the ball rolling.

    Rgds Heike

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