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Create a class of confident presenters

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Create a class of confident presenters

English Stars 29/7/19


Most students can speak confidently in informal settings. But when it comes to giving an oral presentation, they might mumble, talk too fast or simply freeze with fear. However, with the right teaching approach, you can have your students speaking as naturally in front of the class as they do with their friends. From explicit teaching through to final assessment, here’s how you can create a class of confident presenters!

1. Start with teaching
Explicitly teach presentation skills

Explain to students exactly how body language and vocal cues can positively (or negatively) affect their presentations.

Draw students’ attention to different elements of their body language, including posture, eye contact, facial expressions and gestures. Also, make students aware of vocal cues such as volume, clarity, pace, pause and tone. Help them adjust any of these components to support what they’re saying in their presentations.

Each English Stars year level includes several resources on presentation skills, such as this Body Language and Vocal Effects video:

Practise public speaking skills informally

Scatter informal speaking opportunities throughout your lessons. For example:

  • Nominate a student to read a comprehension text excerpt.
  • Have students share a favourite paragraph from their short story task.
  • Host a whole-class discussion as a lesson warm-up.
2. Prepare for assessment
Repurpose content from a previous assessment

Have students use content they’ve written in a previous assessment (such as a persuasive essay) as a base for their oral presentation. As students will already be familiar with this content, they can focus on perfecting their presentation skills.

The structure of English Stars units facilitates this approach. For example, in Year 4 Unit 5, students learn persuasive language techniques and apply them in a persuasive essay. They then use the content of this essay as a base for their oral presentation. For a closer look, check out the Yearly Plan for Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6.

Establish expectations

When you introduce the oral presentation task to the class, ensure students understand the marking criteria. Discuss the key elements that students will be assessed on, such as their ability to use:

  • body language
  • eye contact
  • vocal effects
  • clear speech.

Discuss the Rubric slideshows step out the marking criteria so it’s easy for students to digest, making them a great prompt for a whole-class discussion about assessment expectations. But don’t forget to also print a copy of the Rubric itself for students to use as a reference while practising their oral presentation.

Dedicate time to rehearsal

Dedicate in-class time for students to rehearse their final oral presentations. Also, allow students to practise their presentations in small groups. This will help them build confidence with an audience before they have to present to the whole class.

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