Presentation in the Expression-Driven Classroom

Over the weekend I attended a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” at Indiana University. Prior to the performance, a musicology graduate student gave a presentation regarding the history of the opera, the major themes of the opera, and character development in the opera. The presentation included visuals, sound samples, and several laughs. It was entertaining and informative, and it helped me make sense of much of the opera. 

Presentations are a tremendous tool that can be used in an expression-driven classroom. In the book, Amplify Student Voices: Equitable Practices to Build Confidence in the Classroom, authors AnnMarie Baines, Diana Medina, and Caitlin Healy share the following seven benefits of presentation in the classroom (p. 153):

  1. Develops literacy and academic language. In order to present, students have to read and understand content. Skill development is a byproduct of their efforts. 
  2. Furthers organization skills and sequencing of ideas. In order to present, students have to collate information and order it in logical ways. 
  3. Builds research skills and the ability to communicate research evidence. In order to present, students have to seek valid information and create meaningful ways to share it. 
  4. Refines rhetoric and word choice. In order to present, students have to ask good questions that get to the most important content. 
  5. Promotes empathy and reflection. In order to present, students have to think about their own thinking and understand that others may not think or know as they do. 
  6. Supports synthesis and summary. In order to present, students have to understand how to identify the most important content pieces and provide concise explanations. 
  7. Develops delivery skills to captivate an audience and highlight ideas, interests, and passions. In order to present, students need to attract and maintain audience attention by using their own excitement for the content. 

As you prepare for next week, think of ways that you incorporate student presentations into your classroom. You and your students will be glad you did!

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