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Poster Presentations: A Scaffold to Public Speaking

By Jessica Aggrey

Speaking is an essential part of learning a language, and public speaking is a needed skill in school and life. For nonnative speakers, giving a presentation in front of the whole class can be daunting at first. One way to help students build this skill is by having them do a poster presentation. This format not only takes the stress off of presenting in front of the class, but it also gives your students the opportunity to present multiple times. A poster presentation also helps keeps the audience engaged because they’re required to actively move around and engage with each of the presenters. Check out the setup below.


    1. Have students create a poster and prepare a 2-3 minute presentation on a topic you’re working on in class.


    1. On the day of the presentation, divide the class in half. Direct half of the students to display their posters around the room and stand next to them to give their presentations.


    1. The other half will be the listeners. Direct them to fill out an organizer that will require them to actively engage with each presentation. You can assign points for this a well. Check out this organizer that asks students to write reflections for each presentation and ask at least one question. Alternatively, you could provide a rubric or feedback form that the listeners complete. These could be given to each presenter at the end for peer feedback.  
    2. To structure the presentations, you could set a timer for the time you assigned for each presentation plus 30 or so seconds for questions. This will help keep students practice their presentation timing. You could also let the class move around free flow from presentation to presentation. Both formats can work well.


    1. After you’ve given the students a few minutes to warm up and run through their presentations at least once, you can start going around and listening to each presentation in order to complete your rubric to assign a grade.


  1. After you’ve listened to each presentation in round 1, have students switch roles for round 2 and repeat.


I think you’ll find this is a great structure to engage every student in your class in a way that gives everyone great language and content practice. What are some ways that you structure presentations in your classroom? Let me know in the comment section at the bottom of the page.


Preview of the listener graphic organizer 


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