Children are often eager to present their thoughts, ideas and projects in the classroom. They have such enthusiasm for the process! Research has shown that having school presentations is part of a developmental milestone and a source of enjoyment for students. Research also describes how children are more invested in what their peers, rather than their teachers and parents, think of them. At Astor International School, these are some of the reasons why we integrate presentations in our classroom activities.
Class presentations can be done both individually or as a collaborative group. When students know that they will be working in collaborative groups to build a concept from the ground up, and that the end result will be seen by their peers, it increases productivity and commitment. They enjoy having the opportunity to express their ideas, creativity, and thinking.
When doing a class presentation, start with the end goal in mind: What do I want students to accomplish? The next step is to share this goal with the children. An example would be getting the children to share the model that they have created. Some guiding questions for them to answer would be: how they came up with the idea, what materials did they use to create the project and how would they improve on their model if given another opportunity. This allows students to share their thought process as well as reflection to the class.
When students work together to brainstorm ideas, the energy in the classroom is high as they map out their plan and assign roles to each other. Students learn to assign specific parts of the presentation within their working groups and they also discuss how they would answer the various guiding questions. This supports children in bouncing off various ideas that they might want to try during their presentations. It also boosts the child’s confidence in sharing the ideas that they would like to try out.
At Astor International School, the teachers walk around the classroom while the children are having a discussion on how they would like to present their work model or their findings for their inquiry. The teacher’s role is to facilitate the discussion and guide the students as they come up with ideas. The teacher also ensures that each member of the team is engaged and connected with the group and also validates each child for their contribution to the process. This allows each child to know that teachers value the work that they are doing.
Following each presentation, their peers share what they like about their classmates’ presentation. Many children would agree that they enjoy listening to their peers’ feedback as it is a validating, meaningful component of the lesson.
Students presenting and teaching their classmates is empowering, engaging, and time well spent. Presentations become a platform for students to share their creativity and self-expression, making learning more meaningful and impactful. When students are in charge of creating knowledge and teaching each other, the classroom truly becomes theirs.