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Tips for Making an Effective Presentation: Teaching Skills

written by: Pamela Rice-Linn • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 7/12/2012

From preparation to moving around the room to altering your voice for the best effect, these tips will give you confidence to teach with renewed vigor every day. Reach your students be presenting clear and concise material.

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    Use these presentation skills for teachers to plan and practice your next presentation in class, whether that is an introduction to a unit, or an everyday assignment. Or, if you’re considering a career in education, imagine yourself before a classroom or before a gathering of your peers—how might you create an effective presentation? These suggestions will set you on the right track.

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    Preparation Before You Begin

    Before you conduct a presentation, consider all learners and adapt your lesson presentation to their needs. While an auditory learner is okay with just listening to a lecture, a visual learner needs pictures, graphs, or a video clip. Kinesthetic learners, however, require movement in the form of responses to questions or hands-on activities. If you keep all of your audience learning styles in mind, you’ll be sure to maintain their attention throughout your lesson.

    Next, be organized about your lesson or presentation. Lesson plans are essential to everyday teaching, especially for new teachers. Keep your lesson plan available as a guide. Also, have your necessary materials readily available, such as handouts or any other materials your lesson requires. If textbooks or a novel set are required for the lesson, have those items passed out before so you don’t lose the momentum of your presentation.

    It’s also a good idea to be tech savvy about your equipment. It’s great to venture into using a new software program or new technology equipment for the sake of a lesson, but make sure you practice using the technology before class begins so you can work out the bugs.

    With a little practice, preparation for an effective presentation will become like second nature.

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    During Your Presentation

    Move around the room while you teach. Modern students have a shorter attention span than their parents or grandparents possessed. Don’t make your students dizzy, don’t pace, but shift your location in the classroom. Take a chance and be histrionic once in a while. From a pause to a demonstration to a wave of the arms, keep students riveted. Enthusiasm is part of the power of presentation. When your face lights up from the information you share, you might be surprised to see your students listening with eyes and ears wide open.

    Similarly, keep a sense of humor. It’s not about being a clown, but it is about coming across as having a good attitude when it comes to teaching and enjoying your job.

    As you’re presenting, pause after key points to check for student understanding and involvement. It’s not enough to ask a questionclassroom  and have a student answer. Ask them to explain what you’ve taught in their own words. Question if the lesson reminds them of anything in the real world or within their personal lives, or perhaps even something else they might have learned in another class. By doing so, you’re helping students establish a connection between themselves and what you’re teaching.

    Speak up! You want to be loud enough to be heard, but you also need to vary your pitch to avoid the monotone lecture voice. Students can hear authority in your voice. Confidence means you won’t falter when the slide doesn’t automatically pop up on the screen, the class drama queen has a break down or you accidentally bump into your desk and drop all the handouts onto the floor. Confidence means you’re a professional and every moment is a teaching experience. Feel good about your teaching voice. It’s a whole new facet to your personality now.

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    Final Advice for an Effective Presentation

    Know how to improvise and be spontaneous with your presentation. On your computer screen, your presentation might look like a work of art, a feat of greatness that will inspire all students to become teachers and follow your lead. However, presentations don’t always come across that way once they’re up on screen in the classroom. If you notice students are drifting off, be quick on your feet and get students involved in moving around the room, whether that’s by helping to pass out worksheets or manipulatives, asking students for their personal experiences with the topic at hand, or play a speed round of Simon Says to get students laughing and noticing what’s happening at the front of the room. Lesson plans don’t always go according to plan. You’ll have interruptions at the door, fire drills that send you marching outside, and the usual and unusual round of announcements. That’s school. It happens.

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    References

    Author’s personal experience

    Image credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Manual_communication.jpg