Setting Student Presenters Up For Success

Having students present solutions to homework or class work can be great for them and their classmates. It can also be a disaster—here are a few suggestions to prevent this:

    1. Accuracy. You never want to call students up as the experts only to have them fall on their faces in front of peers. And if that’s not deflating enough, imagine how they feel still standing there as you provide what amounts to private tutoring in a very public way. Worse yet, by then you’ve lost the entire class. So only ask students to present when you’re sure their solutions are correct. No choosing students at random or asking for volunteers.

    2. Efficiency. You never want a student scrawling on the board while the rest of the class has nothing to do. So just as you should prepare your presentations in advance, so should students prepare their solutions in advance. Once you identify students to present, give them transparencies to transfer their work onto while still at their desks. Then all they have to do when you call them up is place their solutions on the overhead and explain what they did, facing the class rather than the board. (Just one of many reasons I remain devoted to old-fashioned overhead projectors—see my earlier post, The Overhead Projector: Don’t Overlook It).

    3. Necessity. Only have students present solutions to questions most of the class needs help with—in the interest of a captive audience for the presenter and a productive experience for the audience (see my last post, Only Review What Students Need You To Review).

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