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Tom came to teaching with one goal in mind – to be an inspiration. He continues this mission by providing workshops for students and teachers in all aspects of learning to learn.


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Pecha Kucha - Japanese for chit chat

Tom Barwood

Last night I presented at the Bedford Pecha Kucha evening (for the second time). For those that have never been to a Pecha Kucha event, the word is not only the Japanese for 'chit chat' but also a worldwide organisation which hosts very special presentation evenings. 

Their full name is Pecha Kucha 20 x 20 evenings because each presenter is only allowed 20 images and is only permitted to talk for 20 seconds about each slide. The aim is to promote and encourage the art of 'concise speaking'. For me, as the world's greatest digresser (and proud of it) it is like some sort of presentational bootcamp! Should you feel like lingering on a point then it's tough - as the slides are moved for you. I felt very naked without my little slide moving gizmo.

Like all boot camps it does me the world of good. I have to be entertaining and informative in a much shorter time about a far more specific and interesting topic. Last night my talk was entitled 'A boyhood through breakfast cereals'. All the really good presentations, I realised, have two things in common. First, they have clear and attention grabbing images and second, the talk has a good narrative with a clear - beginning, middle and end.

Last night we had ten presenters in total with five presenting either side of a refreshment break. There was no time to get bored or restless. When describing it to others I liken it to 'an alternative comedy night of the mind' but the presentations are also so wide ranging that it is like a 'roller coaster ride of the synapses' too.

My mind was buzzing with ideas all night and today I have a 'hangover of inspiration' in that I feel excited and creative rather than tired and withdrawn.

The only question(s) I keep asking are - why don't schools use this format for training days or evenings with staff presenting not just on CPD topics but on things which interest and fascinate them? Teachers may then suffer from my hangover of inspiration too - and who knows what might happen from there!