Sunday, May 21, 2017

When students teach - An amazing experience - Part 1

One of my students asked me to let them give class presentations this session. I admit I sometimes avoided doing this kind of classroom activity because I do know many people fear giving presentations in front of other people. Instead, I have been asking students to give small group presentations and they have been doing a very good job.

As I always try to personalize my classes as much as I can, I decided to give it a try. Since my students are in a Canadian Language Benchmark 7/8 class, they are expected to give presentations up to 20 minutes long. Of course, some students felt uncomfortable when I suggested we would have this kind of presentation. Some of them mentioned nervousness and other negative feelings. I told them I would guide them through the whole process until they felt comfortable to do so. We would learn how to use Power Point, how to make effective presentations, and other aspects of presentations. After that, they all agreed to try.

We started this process by watching and discussing some videos about effective presentations and how to overcome the fear of public speaking. They took notes and discussed them in small groups. I even prepared a reading assessment using an article about tips to give effective presentations.

We have also been spending some time in our computer lab creating our Power Point presentations. The students are looking for the content of their presentations as well as pictures to illustrate them. As one of our themes for the session is "Travel", I encouraged them to pretend they are salespeople and they are supposed to sell tour packages to a destination anywhere in the world. They have to present about the place, its landmarks, attractions, two places to stay there, two places to eat some typical food, and any other interesting things they can mention to try to sell the package.

In order to prepare for the long presentation, I thought it would be a good idea to give my students the opportunity to make a short presentation about any topic they thought would be relevant for newcomers to Canada. I told them to be creative and to follow the tips we had been discussing.

I am very happy to let you know that I was very surprised and amazed by the results of the activity. They were simply brilliant! Even though I hadn't requested the use of Power Point, most of them used it and put a lot of effort to prepare them. I was also very proud of the topics they chose to present. I have learned so much from them!

Let me share the topics I have learned about:

-"Meet up" app
-"Think Dirty" app
- Benefits and risks of using credit cards in Canada.
- Manitoba Health Card coverage
- The Best Medicine
- How to use the Leisure Guide
- Guatemala
- India
- Sun protection
- Manitoba Driver's License
- Entry Program
- Public Transportation in Winnipeg
- The Cadets program in Winnipeg
- How to make your own yogurt
- How to make a calling card
- Cancer causing foods
- The senses and food products

For each presentation I wrote comments and gave suggestions for improvement. I also asked them to write a reflection and self-assessment about their presentations and asked them what they would like to do to improve them.

I can tell you that I was not expecting a lot from them since it was just a practice exercise, but I felt very happy and proud of them. They showed me that they have a lot of expertise and that I should let my students do this more often.

I am glad my students learned a lot from each other and they are even changing some habits because of all the learning that has been taking place in our classes. I couldn't be happier! I was also very impressed with some students who told me they were very nervous and scared of speaking in public but they did great! I can't wait for their long presentations!

Do you encourage your students to present? Please share your experiences!

Image result for meet up app                                                         Image result for think dirty app