Six things about Pecha Kucha ELT

This is one of the “latest thangs” in the world of conferences, and since I helped launch the idea in ELT I thought it merited its own list.

1. Pecha Kucha comes from a Japanese word meaning “chitchat”. It’s an innovative form of presentation, which was started by two designers in Tokyo.

2. Each presenter is allowed twenty slides on a programme like Powerpoint.

3. Each slide is shown for twenty seconds. The next slide comes on automatically. This gives a total presentation time of six minutes and forty seconds. ONe of the great phrases I heard to describe a Pecha Kucha was “Get to the (Power)point and sit the hell down”.

4. While it may be short, a Pecha Kucha is in fact quite difficult to do. It requires a lot of practice and good speaking skills to do a good one. It reminds me of what Churchill said (I think it was Churchill) about giving talks. He said if you asked him to talk for 90 minutes to the House of Commons he would need five minutes to prepare. If you asked him to talk on the radio for three minutes he needed weeks to prepare.

5. A Pecha Kucha event usually has several speakers, one after another. It’s often a mixture of a conference and a social event, and usually happens in the evening. There is often a bar or drinks available. It’s a lot of fun to watch, even the not-so-good presenters.

6.  There have been Pecha Kucha events in English language teaching at several conferences in at least four different countries. The event provides a welcome relief from the syndrome known as “death by powerpoint”, all too frequent at talks. If you’re interested the next events are at TESOL Spain in Seville or IATEFL in Cardiff.The Cardiff Pecha Kucha will be broadcast live over the internet, for free. For more information and how to see it, you can register here.


I’ve created a website all about Pecha Kucha ELT here, for those of you interested in knowing more. There are detailed instructions on how to set one up, as well as videos of previous ones. There’s even a link to a lesson plan on Pecha Kucha for business students.  If any conference organisers are reading this site and looking at a way of spicing up their event, why not try one?

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. How timely of you, Lindsay! If you want to see my recent take on the delights of TEFL conferences, please try this:

    The approach is a little different from yours, but no worse for it!

    • Ouch! And to think I’ve been to a couple of those very talks! Thanks Sandy for that… a timely antidote to the dreaded conference season which is now fully upon us.

  2. Hi Lindsay,

    Pecha Kucha is still an unknown here in Colombia – until now. I’m going to introduce it to my English language learners for their next series of presentations. From there I can introduce it to the other EFL teachers at the university where I teach and I’m planning an ELT conference presentation on it later this year. Hopefully, it’ll get the ball rolling. Death by Power Point is all too common here, so this should make for a refreshing change of pace. I really like how your blog and posts are shaping up. Keep up the good work.


    Prof. Larry M. Lynch
    Santiago de Cali University
    Cali, Colombia

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