While not a comprehensive list, below are some main components of an oral presentation that students can work to improve as they gain experience presenting their work in front of a group of people. By requiring students to be mindful of some specific features of an oral presentation, they can work to gain confidence in conveying messages using the spoken word.
Accuracy: Does the student speak with few to no mistakes? Accuracy in recitation means that the student can repeat the text verbatim.
Pronunciation: Can the student correctly sound out the spoken words? Pronunciation means that the student pronounces all words correctly when speaking, focusing on how to emphasize parts of the word and how certain letters and phonemes sound when spoken aloud.
Enunciation: Can the students speak clearly? Enunciation means that the students can properly blend words, speak at an appropriate pace so that each word spoken can be distinctly heard, avoids mumbling the words, and fully forms the words being spoken.
Inflection: Does the student modulate his or her voice to match the text? Inflection is how the spoken word expresses the tone, mood, gender, or other attribute attempting to be conveyed in the text.
Projection: Does the student’s voice carry at an appropriate volume that anyone in the room can hear? Projection is the strength of a person’s speaking and should give power and clarity to an individual’s voice.
Tempo: Does the student maintain an appropriate rate of speech? The tempo of an oral recitation means that words are not spoken too fast or too slow, but at an appropriate pace for the content and environment.
Filler Avoidance: Does the student avoid words like “um” or “like”? Avoiding fillers means that the student can maintain accuracy in speech even if he needs to take a moment to collect his thoughts before continuing.
As you note these seven components of a student’s speech, consider how you can monitor their improvement over time and then provide specific feedback for improvement. Utilizing a rubric or checklist that helps you identify areas for improvement is the first step in monitoring these speech components. You can find a checklist of these seven components in a resource download below this article. As students practice an oral presentation, you can monitor areas of their speech that they exhibit well and identify areas for improvement. Tailoring your feedback to provide one positive acknowledgment of their performance and one area for improvement offers students the confidence to work to improve.
For example, a 3rd-grade class was tasked with choosing an organism, creating a diorama of its habitat, and then presenting it to the class. The teacher allowed students to practice their presentations in small groups before presenting to the whole class. As the teacher checked in on group progress, she noticed one student softly describing her presentation. The teacher said, “Emily, think about the projection of your voice. Do you think children in another group could hear you? Stand up a little straighter, fill your lungs with a deep breath, and try projecting your voice louder.” Another student in a different group hadn’t yet fully mastered his speech and utilized the words like “um” throughout his presentation to his group members: “My animal is the hawksbill turtle, and it lives in um.. warm waters… um basically like in beachy areas.” The teacher stopped him and said, “try writing down what you want to say, and memorize a few lines. This might help you avoid using “like” and “um” when you present to the class because you will be able to recall the information more easily.” She continued providing presentation feedback to her students and then utilized a checklist on the day of their presentations, providing further feedback they can consider for future presentations.
Providing guidance on the oral presentation in addition to the content of the student’s work will develop your students into excellent communicators of ideas. Consider implementing a method for supporting the oral presentation in your future classroom activities.