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The Three Minute Thesis in the Classroom: What Every ESL Teacher Needs to Know
by Heather Boldt
University of Michigan Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-0-472-12669-9

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is an academic speaking competition that takes place annually at more than  600 universities in more than  66 countries. Founded by the University of Queensland in 2008, it challenges graduate students to present their thesis and its significance to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes. This book is not focused on how to run a competition but rather on how to use aspects of that genre to improve students' speaking skills, particularly about research. 
 
There are several ways the 3MT connects to an ESL or EAP classroom, which is the focus of this ebook:
  • International students relate to watching presentations from other university students engaged in a real-world and research-focused task. 
  • The content is engaging and targeted to a non-specialist audience.
  • The length of 3 minutes provides an efficient model to demonstrate the flow of the problem-solution organization pattern (something students need for other academic tasks, including writing assignments).
  • Since the focus of the 3MT is speaking and only one slide is allowed, the presenter is required to speak clearly and convincingly, creating a model for international students in an academic speaking course.

This e-single uses data from the author's corpus of 3MT transcripts to reveal the six moves typical of this type of presentation and then provides instructors with a variety of classroom applications in the areas of vocabulary, pronunciation, describing research to non-specialists, and effective slide design.  
 

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