Presentations are always challenging, even for the best presenters. While we might feel as though we’re ready to go, sometimes in the minutes right before we are set to “take the stage”, our nerves get the best of us and in those moments, it’s difficult for us to do as well as we would like. If this is how we might feel as adults, I wonder how much more this might impact our students. In particular, I’m thinking of my French as a Second Language students and how we might use technology to support student presentations.
This year, I am teaching French as a Second Language (FSL) to grade 4 students. The class is a grade 3/4 split, so we have a small group of 9 students, many of whom are eager to learn and are growing in their confidence in speaking the language with each other. As we continue to work on pronunciation and speaking, students perform short presentations as a part of the culminating activity for our units.
This past week, we finished our unit on clothing and students were tasked with creating a fashion show. As part of their fashion show, they were asked to make sure that they described at least 3 outfits, including the colour of each item within the outfit. Some students worked to create fashion shows in Scratch while others used Google Slides. In both instances, many students took the time to practice and record themselves so that they could just press play when it came time to present. More and more, I’m realizing the importance of giving students options when it comes to presenting so that they are able to show what they are capable of producing without the added stress of having to “present” in front of their peers and the teacher. Because students were able to record their presentations ahead of time, some of the more reluctant students were eager to be first in presenting.
As I continue to work with students, I’m eager to uncover additional ways in which to remove barriers to them showing what they know and are learning. By simply incorporating the option to record ahead of time, students had the time to practice and when confident, finalize their recordings and insert them in their projects. I’m eager to discover more ways in supporting students in sharing their learning and perhaps reframing what it means to present.