Teaching Students how to present

Teaching Spanish Students How To Present

I have a lot of feelings about presentations. Throughout my career, I have seen it all.

The memorized, robotic presentation where the student has no idea what they’re even saying.

The presentation that was meant to be memorized but stage fright took over. Train wreck.

The presentation that was so incorrect, no one knew what was being said.

The one-by-one presentations where we are all dying a painful death of boredom as we listen to #27 talk about their likes and dislikes.

girl, bored, sleepy-5835891.jpg

You get the picture. Not pretty. Teaching Spanish students how to present is not an easy task.

So How Do We Teach Spanish Students How to Present?

Do we just forget it?


Instead, we instruct students about what a good presentation looks like and sounds like.

AP Spanish Presentations

Let’s start with our most advanced students. Theoretically, they are the most prepared to give a quality, interesting presentation. In my AP Spanish class, some presentations are done individually and some in groups. Many have a visual requirement as well.

Start by getting students comfortable speaking off the cuff. This means providing opportunities every day for students to answer questions and give opinions about things they have not prepared ahead of time. This builds their confidence in their ability to use their language creatively. (See my blog post about building confidence in AP Spanish students here!)

Go over the requirements of the presentation in detail. Don’t leave much to the imagination. Students will fill in their own blanks, and sometimes it’s not what we want!

Here are the guidelines I give to teach my AP Spanish students to present an excellent piece of work:

Here are Some Guidelines for Teaching AP Spanish Students to Present

  1. Know your content well. This also means learning key vocabulary words that may be new.
  2. Make a notecard with bulleted phrases to guide you. *It’s important NOT to write down everything you want to say word for word. Instead, having the outline will boost you and jog your memory.
  3. Create a visual to go along with what you’re saying. These visuals are meant to help the audience understand what you’re saying, and to give them a picture to go along with your words. It adds interest to your presentation. But! It’s important NOT to have a lot of words on your slides. No one wants to be read to, and there is a strong temptation to turn your back to the audience and read the slides. At least for my grading rubrics, a student will not earn a good score by reading their slides.
  4. Rehearse your presentation. Is there a time limit? Does your presentation fall within it? Did you hit any road blocks with vocabulary that you need to work out before the day of the presentation? Do you need help with pronunciation? All of these are issues that rehearsing can work out!

Click HERE for my freebie handout with these reminders to give your students!

Click HERE for an example of an oral presentation with visuals that I assign to my AP students.

Teaching Year 1-4 Spanish Students To Present

For Novice and Intermediate Low students, our expectations are a little bit different. Their vocabulary and grammar is a lot more limited, so they may need some extra support.

One recommendation I have is that students NOT present one-by-one in front of the class. First, this incites terror for many of our students! And we know that when a student’s fight, flight or freeze system is activated, no learning or performing is going on!

Second, it’s BORING for the rest of the class to listen to 20 + presentations that are more or less similar.

What to Do Instead?

  1. Consider task cards. These are simply cards that give some questions or parameters for students surrounding a topic that you have been practicing in class. For example, you might give a Spanish 1 class task cards that list a person’s name, age, physical description, etc. (in English) and ask them to introduce themselves. There should be several versions of these cards. For students in Years 2 or 3, you might create scenarios based on your unit. Perhaps you have a unit on Travel or Getting Hurt? Create several different scenarios where students can tell you a story.
  2. Call students up one at a time to do their presentations with you. Your other students can be doing any number of worthwhile activities, including practicing new vocabulary on Quizlet, taking a virtual field trip, reading an interesting cultural article, etc.
  3. Provide some supports. One idea is providing a vocab list from your unit or related to the topic in English. I notice that one thing that holds many students back is that they simply can’t think of anything else to say! Having a vocab list in front of them gives them an easy way to jog their thought process so that they can add details to their stories!
  4. Practice!! Create class activities that allow students the chance to use their language creatively in both speaking and writing. The time they are graded should not be the first time they are doing the sort of task you are grading them on!

Click Here if you would like some task cards/scenarios for your Year 2 or 3 Students! These are related to accidents & injuries, but the idea can be used for any sort of scenarios!

Teaching our Spanish students how to present is tricky! Please use the comment section below if you have any other tips that have improved your students’ presentations in Spanish!

Related posts:

Building Confidence with AP Spanish Students

How To Encourage Group Work in Spanish Class

How To Teach AP Spanish Students the Cultural Comparison

Teaching Students how to present