A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Samah Ahmad Sabbagh Entitled, "Investigating Oral Presentation Skills and Non-Verbal Communication Techniques in UAE Classrooms," June 2009. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis
English language instruction encourages students to express their ideas and thoughts through oral reports and presentations. Skilful teachers can, therefore, inspire their students to communicate effectively when they demonstrate their roles as successful communicators. Among the various ESL communicative speaking activities, oral reporting activities promote oral fluency on the one hand, and public speaking skills on the other. These oral presentations function as excellent generators of students' natural language, and can simultaneously prove to be a user-friendly technique of teaching nonverbal communication to learners. In addition, a teacher's feedback on the language, style and content of these presentations will play a significant role in enhancing students' presentation and speaking skills. In middle and high schools in the UAE, a variety of factors work to underplay the role of non-verbal communication in students' oral performances. This may become a serious problem because the students who graduate from these schools will then be unprepared for the social, professional, and academic demands for these skills. This study was, therefore, an attempt to investigate the teaching of oral presentation skills and non-verbal communication in schools in the UAE. It sought to answer the following questions: (1) How do ESL teachers in the UAE teach oral presentations and non verbal communication? (2) To what extent is the implementation of focused oral presentations and non-verbal communication teaching techniques possible in the UAE English learning classroom? To answer these questions, data was collected through workshops, interviews, and questionnaires. 25 teachers from private and public schools participated in this study. The findings indicate that most teachers are willing to include oral presentations in their ESL teaching. Furthermore, the obtained results confirmed the usefulness of non-verbal communication in the ESL classroom. Nevertheless, teachers' responses also suggested the widespread existence of certain misconceptions regarding the implementation of oral presentation skills in their classrooms.