Remember show and tell in school?
When we could bring whatever we loved most at the moment into school and talk freely about it to all of our peers? Even with how painfully shy I was as a child it was one of my absolute favorite parts of the week. It was one of the few opportunities where I had creative freedom. I could choose something that I loved and just share whatever I wanted about it. It was the outlet that my creative soul so deeply craved.
So how did I end up the teenager with crippling presentation anxiety in high school…
How could I go from looking forward to this opportunity to share each week, to feeling physically ill at the idea of standing up in front of those same peers years later?
I can’t say for sure, but my guess…lack of practice.
There seems to be an inexplicable gap in our focus on public speaking in traditional education. You get show and tell in the early years. Then maybe a few chances a year for different projects in the mid-late elementary and even middle school years. Then suddenly public speaking is brought back full force in high school. Right in the middle of the most socially challenging times as it is.
I was horrified by how often I was expected to speak in front of my classmates in high school.
I had so little practice, so little guidance, and no foundation. I had no tools that I had learned over all of these years of showing up to this building to make it easier.
It was just write the paper, talk to us about it for ___ minutes…try not to faint.
But what if we chose to keep our kids practicing in a way that they enjoyed from a young age? What if they got to fill the tool chest they would need to succeed later?
Even better, in a way that was fun for them, so they could have fun now AND didn't have to struggle later.
That’s what I want for my kids!
I feel that becoming confident with public speaking is an important part of every child's education and growth. As an adult, being able to effectively communicate to a group is a tremendously valuable skill.
That is why we do weekly presentations that are designed to give students the opportunity to practice these skills, while also learning from and engaging with each other.
If you are interested in joining us for our FREE virtual presentation group each week, you can visit us at https://schoolingpiecebypeace.com/presentations/.
We would love to have you!
But first, here are some tips to get you started.
There are a few things to keep in mind during presentations.
First, is that there are two parts:
Practicing being a good public speaker & practicing being a good audience.
Here are some suggestions on how to be at your best with both parts:
How to Be a Good Public Speaker
- Show up with a plan: Look at the topic ahead of time and have a plan of what you would like to say. Try not to write down what you want to say word for word, because you may find yourself looking down at your paper the entire time, instead of engaging with your audience. A simple outline to remember what you would like to say is perfect!
- Make Eye Contact: Try to avoid looking down at your notes the entire time. Get comfortable enough with what you are sharing, that you can look into your audience and see their interested faces while you speak.
- Speak Clearly: Your audience wants to hear what you have to say, so try to remember to speak slowly and clearly so we can understand you.
- Ask for Questions: Once you are done presenting, ask your audience if they have any questions. It is a fun way to dig a little deeper into your topic, and it’s okay if you don’t know every answer.
- Take a Breath and Have Fun: Sometimes talking in front of a group can make you nervous, but take a deep breath and remember everyone is here to learn and have fun. No one will laugh if you stumble on a word or forget what you were saying. We are a community here to support each other and practice these skills together.
How to Be a Good Audience
- Listen: It is important to sit quietly and listen while others are presenting. We want to show that we are interested in hearing what they have to say.
- Save Questions for the End: It is great to be thinking of questions you could ask about the presentation while you are listening! Just save them for the end when the presenter asks for questions, instead of asking them to stop in the middle. When they do ask for questions, raise your hand so that the presenter can give everyone with a question the chance to ask.
- Avoid Being Distracted/Distracting: Doing things like talking, moving around a lot, or having other distractions around during someone's presentation can be very distracting to the presenter as well as the other members of the audience. Try to give the presenter your full attention instead of being involved in other conversations or activities.
(We understand this can be hard for younger learners. We simply ask that we do our best. This is not meant to be an overwhelming or rigid experience, we simply want to treat all of our peers with respect and courtesy.)
- Wait Until The End: Each Week we will have multiple presenters. The order will be determined at the start of each meeting. We ask that students stay for the duration of the meeting, so that some presenters are not left without an audience to speak for.
Most importantly, always behave in a way that demonstrates respect, kindness, and compassion towards your peers. Being distracted, making rude comments, laughing/making fun, or any other form of disrespect creates an environment where no one can feel safe to share and stunts the potential to grow and learn. Regardless of the topic, if everyone agrees, or if mistakes are made the most important thing is for everyone to have positive interaction. To learn, and grow in a fun, safe and inclusive environment.
Whether you would like to join us in our weekly meetings or would like some ideas for you or your child's own show and tell experience, check out our kids favorites HERE.