3 Benefits of Letting Students Present

To teach is to learn twice. — Joseph Joubert

There are many reasons to put students in the role of teacher; when a student has a skill or understanding that another doesn’t, figuring out how to explain what they know reinforces the learning for that student while helping them build empathy for others. In this post, I want to focus more specifically on the benefits of asking students to create engaging, interactive presentations.

  1. They have to put the material in their own words
    As students prepare a presentation about a new topic, we can prompt them to really think about how they can explain the concept to their peers. Instead of explaining it the way the textbook does, students can really think about what would makes sense to their classmates. This act of scripting the material in their own words and then speaking them aloud will doubly reinforce their own understanding.
  2. They must think about how to pace their presentation
    Next, be sure to prompt students to think about how they will pace the presentation. How will they know if their classmates are getting it or if they are moving too fast? What kinds of checks for understanding will they build in, and where? In this way, students build awareness of their audience and how to help them feel supported.
  3. They have to come up with interesting questions that will get their peers interacting
    Finally, be sure to prompt students to think of engaging questions that will get their peers thinking. This forces students to think more deeply about the material they are presenting, to think beyond the facts and explore the more interesting takeaways. By posing open-ended questions, students will be activating that critical thinking brain, once again reinforcing their own learning.

When you put all this together, presenting students have not only more deeply solidified their own understanding, they’ve also become facilitators of an interesting discussion.