Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Remember that post about awkward social situations? You know, the one from 3posts ago? Yeah, that one. I've now discovered that student presentations are the epitome of that feeling. That "oh no! something bad is about to happen! i want to fix it but can't! must leave the room." feeling. 

They're up there, trying so hard to get the information out. 

Worried about their grade. 

Worried about their classmates' reactions. 

Asking themselves if they've prepared enough. If they know the material well enough.

Asking themselves if they can even do this.

I want to get in there and help them. Here's how we can handle this awkward silence! Here's how to engage your classmates! I know the answer! Here you go, don't fret.

But that's not how this class is run. This class is about them. It's about them asking the questions and formulating the responses. I'm not supposed to be an active participant. Sure, correct them if they're wrong, but they are to discover the answer on their own. Talk it through. Brainstorm. Ponder.

But oh, those looks of anxiety, they kill me. 

... and I can't leave the room.

One down, five to go.

1 comment:

  1. Know exactly what you mean. My Freshman Seminar experiences this phenomenon every semester. 15 student-led discussions that are agonizing as students grapple with the material and how to present it in an interesting, engaging manner. I get everything from the quiz approach--question after question eliciting a one-word answer and then on to the next. OR we get the mini-lecture, where the leader answers his/her own questions ad nauseum and refuses to invite others to participate. They are so afraid of silence--don't give each other the time to formulate a comment. Even though the students themselves suffer through these sessions, they repeat the same mistakes over and over, never getting that what they disliked will continue to be disliked when they perpetuate the discussion models set by their classmates. But it is a learning process--and, thank God, every few discussions I take the time to discuss discussions. It's a sticky wicket, I feel your pain, but have not yet found a sure-fire, viable solution. Such is the nature of higher education