Class presentations: Building up confidence and making learning easier.

2015-01-07

Republica National Daily

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SUPRASANNA ARYAL

KATHMANDU, JUNE 25:Your heart beats faster, your hands shake and you fumble through your speech at least a little, if not much, when you’re doing your college presentation. These presentations assigned to you in class are tiresome and frightening indeed, even though they help build up your confidence in expressing yourself in front of people.

“I remember getting two out of 10 when I did a presentation during my first year,” reminisces Saurav Sah, 22, a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student at Ace Institute of Management in New Baneshwor.

It was his first ever class presentation as he was not required to do any during his high schooldays. That was the reason why he became very nervous and ruined it, he shares.

“But now, since we’re required to do a number of presentations in all the subjects, I’ve become a lot more confident. My teachers and friends appreciate my presentation skills these days,” he says.

Being business students, Saurav and his classmates are assigned presentations related with various aspects of business ventures.
“We even have to come up with hypothetical products, and based on that prepare the entire presentation,” he shares.
Saurav informs that teachers sometimes ask them to give oral presentation while sometimes they give an extended deadline to prepare sophisticated and professional PowerPoint slides.

“And since the business statuses are best expressed in tables, pie chart and graphs, I incorporate plenty of those figures in my slides,” he says.

Another undergraduate student, Mallika Basnet, 20, who used to feel that presentations were very frightening at her initial attempts, says that she enjoys giving class presentations now.

Currently pursuing a BBA degree at Modern Nepal College in Bag Bazaar, Mallika feels that her presentations go well only when she makes it short and to the point.

“If the presentation isn’t put up precisely and goes on for long, I can see my friends and teacher losing interest in it. Some start yawning and some even doze off,” she quips.

To avoid that, Mallika makes use of interesting images instead of long, boring sentences, and if there are numerical data to be dealt with, she represents them in neat graphs. This helps the PowerPoint slides to generate attention, she observes.

“To make my presentation unique and even more interesting, I also search for related short videos on the Internet and incorporate them wherever they fit in,” she shares, adding that maintaining eye contact with the audience and posing questions to them are other strategies she adopts to keep the audience engrossed throughout her presentation.

“I also crack related jokes sometimes so that the presentation becomes refreshing,” she quips.

When teachers ask them to give a group presentation after dividing the class in sections, Mallika makes sure everyone in her group gets equal chances to contribute and learn. She shares, “We divide the work among all the group members and compile each person’s findings to make a final presentation.”

Likewise, an undergraduate student of dentistry, Suja Amatya, 23, says that they are required to go for free dental health camps in different places and they have to prepare for presentations to make there. “Before that, we have to show the presentation to our teachers in class,” she informs.

She likes using animations and pictures along with necessary information in her presentations to inform people about dental health. If the venues are not equipped with electricity and projector, she uses handmade charts with similar content to explain the same.

“It becomes monotonous when only teachers give long lectures on subject matters. So, if students are asked to prepare and give presentations, it becomes interesting,” she observes.

When students are assigned to do class presentations, they refer to many books in search of the required information and also browse through a lot of informational sources on the Internet. This helps them expand their knowledge on a particular subject while their hands-on involvement in preparing presentation slides and materials will help them understand the topic better, she concludes.