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Problem: Learners resist giving presentations and many other aspects of school-related activities, tasks, and performances.
Teens Are Protesting In-Class Presentations
According to a recent survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, oral communication is one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace, with over 90 percent of hiring managers saying it’s important.
a tweet posted by a 15-year-old high-school student declaring “Stop forcing students to present in front of the class and give them a choice not to” garnered more than 130,000 retweets and nearly half a million likes. A similar sentiment tweeted in January also racked up thousands of likes and retweets. And teachers are listening.
“Nobody should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable,” says Ula, a 14-year-old in eighth grade, who, like all students quoted, asked to be referred to only by her first name. “Even though speaking in front of class is supposed to build your confidence and it’s part of your schoolwork, I think if a student is really unsettled and anxious because of it you should probably make it something less stressful. School isn’t something a student should fear.”
It feels like presentations are often more graded on delivery when some people can’t help not being able to deliver it well, even if the content is the best presentation ever,” says Bennett, a 15-year-old in Massachusetts who strongly agrees with the idea that teachers should offer alternative options for students.
Students are resisting in-class presentations… by Annabelle Timsit
According to the American Psychological Association, “When people are fearful of something, they tend to avoid the feared objects, activities or situations. Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of fear in the short term, over the long term it can make the fear become even worse.”
In her piece, Lorenz quotes a 14-year-old student named Ula, who says that “Nobody should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable.” But the best available science tells us that, if they want to be successful in life, maybe they should.
Participatory Call to Action: How do you encourage learners who resist participating in your class?
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