Often, presenters feel the need to be “encumbered” by notes and pieces of paper on which is contained an outline of the presentation. It’s easy to see when over dependence upon notes exists, because presenters keep on referring back and back to their notes. In fact, the presenter can become so dependent upon notes that “spoken” speech is really “read” speech.

It’s easy to understand that people need the security of notes, but often they know a great deal more about the subject then even they understand. What needs to be said is already in the head and doesn’t need reams of paper to bring it out.

The speaker who presents without using copious volumes of notes builds confidence with his or her audience. They understand that the speaker is fully conversant with the subject been canvassed.

While notes may be necessary, they should be minimised. And they can and should be!


When presenting, taking into account the overall character of an audience is important. If the audience is young, exploratory and in the business of finding out new facts on issues for the first time, then language appropriate to their level of understanding is important. Similarly, if dealing with an audience well qualified in the area being canvassed, “speaking down” to them would be conciliatory and insulting. Audience specific language is important. That adds to the credibility and the respect held for the presenter. In this context it’s important to know what audience is going to be addressed and to have an understanding of the background prior to delivery is important.


Too often, presenters lose audiences by being far to “language specific” and talking in a way that sounds fantastic, but is beyond ordinary comprehension. It’s important to apply the “keep it simple, stupid” when dealing with audiences. Speaking of language level that’s appropriate to an audience is important if the message and its meaning is to get through.

Too often people “brag” about their language capacity and vernacular ability, before going ahead and losing the audience. So all is lost. And it shouldn’t be!


The second aspect of PowerPoint is that presenters can become so reliant upon its use as a method of distributing information, that they are totally lost without it. I’m not the only person who has been to forums where PowerPoint has gone on the blink, leaving the presenter in limbo land.

It is interesting, humorous, but however pathetically sad when the presenter is left without a knowledge of what to present because without power point he or she is lost. Knowing subject matter of being able to communicate to verbally or is of paramount importance.


“Death by PowerPoint” is an aspect or method of presenting that is still very alive and well. Everyone has an opinion about PowerPoint. My opinion is that PowerPoint as a support should be used very minimally. There is nothing worse than somebody presenting by reading entries from PowerPoint slide to PowerPoint slide. It becomes boring, monotonous, repetitious and seemingly never-ending for audience members.

Using PowerPoint to highlight major elements of the speech or to offer a succinct summary is fine. But for mine that should be it.

PowerPoint never be allowed to take over from the presenter with PowerPoint becoming the major aspect of the presentation, the presenter be being little more than an auxiliary.


Without doubt ‘uno’ (you know) takes the gold medal for being the most commonly and frequently inserted pair of words into conversations. ‘Uno’ comes up all the time when people are responding to questions or offering information on issues. This very common use of words in inappropriate contexts can be overcome if users are aware of its use.

You know, ‘UNO’ is best avoided.


A further downside with props can be the presented losing touch with his or her audience, while scrambling and scrabbling around trying to organise them for show and display. Props are usually planned to be presented sequentially, but can easily be mixed up, causing the presenter to become hot, bothered and dithery. The whole focus of a presentation can become lost. With props, minimalist use is the best option.


• It is impossible to fail preservice teachers who are not up to the mark when it comes to their preparation for full time teaching. Provided they satisfy academic requirements required, having them terminated because of poor or inept teaching in classrooms during practice teaching rounds. It seems that universities are prepared to graduate people who are in no way ready for teaching, leaving it to schools to which they are appointed to complete the training job.

• It is often impossible for schools to performance manage teachers who should be dismissed or retired for poor performance and who refuse to respond to collegiate assistance and support to improve. The performance management5 process is tortuous, long winded, time consuming and allows many possibilities for those being performance managed to disengage from the process while continuing in our classrooms. Processes are very heavily weighted in favour of those being performance managed.

• It is often impossible for schools to be involved as fully in staff selection to vacant positions as might be desirable. Government schools particularly, are hamstrung by the fact that teachers with permanent status have to be placed in positions. Misfits of people in to positions is left to school principals and leadership teams to manage. Finding positions for teachers, means departments of education have done their job.

• Staff performance is overdone in terms of paperwork required and time consumed by this as a formal exercise. The process generally involves a panel of two or three people sitting with the staffer and going through key performance indicators. The far better ways of working with staff in development is to sit and converse with a brief summative statement to guide and confirm the conversation. Far too much time is wasted on pointless process.

• Formal school reports have become an exercise in the production of all encompassing voluminous documents due by a particular point in time each year. Countless hours involving a significant number of staff are devoted to preparing these reports for education departments that generally minimally inform central policies and directions. This time could be far better devoted to working toward school development and student outcomes. Far too much reporting is about cementing processes of accountability and justification. In essence it is energy sapping, time consuming and utterly frustrating to the intent of what schools should be about – developing students.


LONG TIME SHORT OR SHORT TIME LONG I sometimes ponder the phenomena of how what is touted as a long time is really quite short in length if considered from another angle. A person living to be 100 years of age is considered to have lived for a long, long time. One hundred years sounds a lot. Yet a centurion in years has a life span that has traversed only 36,525 days, including leap years. That sounds a long way shorter than representing the time as 100 years. Six weeks school holiday at Christmas, including the pre and post weekends before returning to school. Six weeks – WOW! Yes, all of 1104 hours, including the pre and post weekends. Put like that, this long break seems like a damp squib. The way a length of time is calculated makes a huge difference to the way it is conceptualised.