A timeless medium through which students can find and proclaim their voice is the public presentation. While whole-class and small-group discussions give students a voice to work out their understanding, the formal presentation gives students the opportunity to share some of their finalized understanding in a public space.
STUDENT CHOICE AND VOICE
Classrooms are a great starting place for public presentations. Standing up in front of their peers may be difficult for some students, but it also gives them a chance to be in the spotlight and a voice to share some of their learning. Sharing their knowledge outside their typical peer group, however, allows students to take ownership of their learning and feel a sense of authority. Extending the scope of that voice means finding audiences outside the immediate classroom for whom students can present. These could be other classes, other grade levels, teachers, parents, or even local businesses.
Earlier this year, my grade 7 English students put together presentations on how the brain learns. Their presentation topics ranged from growth mindset, to techniques to improve memory, to tips to avoiding procrastination. Students presented in front of their individual English classes, but within those classes were panels of grade 8 students who gave feedback. Based on feedback gleaned from the grade 8 panels, the grade 7 peers, and teacher observations, three groups were selected to present to middle school parents at the Principal's Coffee (a morning meeting with parents). Some students that were not selected for the Principal's Coffee (as space was limited) but still wanted to present to a different audience, used their presentation to teach grade 6 classes about how their brain works and how to be better students. Both groups wowed their audiences. Here is what some of them have to say about the project:
General Presentation Resources
- Student Presentations from Brown University
- Student Presentations from the British Council
- 5 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know about People by Dr. Susan Weinschenk
- Teaching Presentation Skills with Ignite by Andrew Miller, Edutopia