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Pecha Kucha Presentations

The pecha kucha presentation (Japanese for chit chat) was devised by two architects who were tired of hearing architects talk endlessly about their projects. The idea is that the presenter selects just 20 images and talks about each one for up to 20 seconds. This ensures a total presentation time of less than 7 minutes (6 minutes, 40 seconds).

As this is a timed speaking activity, the focus for students is on fluency. They should therefore practise their talks in order to complete their talk in the allowed time. Students can do much of this practice at home, although there is value to having a practise run in class, or for students to repeat the activity (if willing) attempting to complete more of their talk.

By practising their talk multiple times, students will make a number of improvements to their language. Firstly, they will need to speak more quickly with fewer hesitations and fillers. Secondly, their grammatical complexity is likely to increase as they need to join clauses in order to speak more efficiently. They may also make gains in accuracy and use more specific vocabulary rather than circumlocuting – certainly practising a pecha kucha presentation at home gives students the chance to look up any vocabulary they need.

pecha kucha presentations
Pecha Kucha presentations originated in architecture.


PRE: The students should be told in a previous lesson to prepare some images they want to talk about in the lesson. The number of images will depend on the level and size of the class. Lower level students are likely to need more time than higher students to say anything of value.

Students can take images from anywhere – their own images, stock photography websites or the web generally.

Students should practise their talk at home. You can guide students about the type of notes that will be helpful to keep them talking about their topic.

1: In the lesson, decide which student will go first.

2: While other students are listening give them a task to do. This may be listening for specific details that they can provide feedback on. Each student can have a different aspect to listen out for e.g. particular vocabulary items related to the topic, number of pauses over 5 seconds, new words, etc.

3. Have students reflect and give each other feedback on their talks. Give your own feedback afterwards.

S: So this is my first picture. As you can see it’s of my family. This is me, and this is (picture changes) my brother. Now in this picture it is our family home.


You can vary the topic, number of pictures and time per image to tailor this activity to the capabilities of your students. Even higher level students may find 20 seconds too fast to keep pace with the images.

Follow on:

Students may wish to practise their talks and then do them again to see how they improve. If students are willing, this is a worthwhile activity.

Example Topics:

My family/work/hobbies.

Things I like/dislike.

Places I’ve been.

A normal day/week.

My city/country in the past/future.

The best moments of my life.

20 places I found English in my town.

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