Whether they know it or not, the kindergarten students who captivate the class during show-and-tell are at the early stages of perfecting presentation skills they’ll use throughout their lifetimes.
A number of accredited online colleges offer education degrees that help teachers learn to evaluate and develop the skills of young learners. Equipped with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), today’s educators are able to gain a great deal of insight by watching students prepare and then present to a group. Two important initial skill sets include:*
Comprehension and Organization Skills: The student should have accounted for all of the key information. The information should be organized in such a way that the listener can discern the differences between the main ideas and the details.
Research, Information Management, and Communication Skills: The design and delivery of a student’s presentation should reflect an extensive depth of knowledge on the topic which is then clearly communicated to the audience.
To help in the evaluation process, seven specific types of presentation methods have been identified and each serves its own purpose when it comes to developing a student’s valuable communication skills. Teachers preparing for licensure by earning a Master of Arts in Teaching are encouraged to use this chart to help with student evaluations.*
||To tell what happened
||Accurately describes the sequence of events
||To present a lesson or demonstrate a skill
||Clearly describes the content or how to perform or execute the skill
||To entertain, inform, or share thoughts and reflections
||Describes information in an entertaining way
|4: Information Report
||To describe what is known about a certain topic
||Presents information in a clear and organized way
||To explain causes and effects
||Provides logical reasons behind causes and effects; tells why rather than what
||To lay out a position and support it
||Lays out a clear position, cites evidence and reasons, considers counterarguments
||To develop and support a hypothesis through research
||Presents a well-formed and feasible hypothesis; uses multiple sources of evidence to support it
Of course, there are a number of things teachers (and parents) can do to help their budding orators—including encouraging them to practice with peers, rewarding their hard work, and offering constructive feedback. If everything goes as planned, by the time these students reach high school, they could be ready for the debate team. Shortly thereafter, those same individuals may just find that their ability to collect, comprehend, and communicate information in the form of an effective presentation helps them land the job of their dreams.
*Silver, H. F., Strong, R. W., & Perini, M. J. (2009). The Strategic Teacher: Selecting the Right Research-Based Strategy for Every Lesson. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.