The following pages are about having students communicate mathematics orally.
- Assignments on presentations
- Examples of good math presentations
- Giving a lecture or workshop about presenting
- Practice presentations
- Engaging the audience
- Peer critique for presentations
- Resources for presentations: handouts & links
- Presenting to learn: learning math by talking about it
- Opportunities for students to present
- Listening to mathematics
- Feedback and assessment for presentations
Things to consider before having students communicate mathematics orally.
- Why do you want students to talk about math or give math presentations?
- As a vehicle for learning math?
- To learn how to give good math presentations?
- To reduce math anxiety?
- To help you assess students’ understanding of the math?
If your objective is for students to learn math or to reduce math anxiety, consider having students talk informally about math rather than giving formal presentations. Most of the rest of this page assumes students will be giving formal presentations.
- Specify the details of the assignments: timing, content, format (chalk? slides?), grading.
- Set a rehearsal policy.
- Provide guidance for giving effective presentations, for example by giving a presentation lecture or workshop and by pointing students to examples of good math presentations.
- If students are giving slide presentations, point them to helpful LaTeX resources.
Logistics for presentations
- Ensure that there is a reason for the audience to pay attention.
- Have students comment on each others’ presentations.
- Record the presentations for the student. Seeing the video can be informative for the students, though often painful and awkward. You could ease the pain by watching parts of the video with the student and emphasizing the positive aspects of the presentation.
- Many general principles of mathematical writing apply to presenting as well. As you give students guidance, consider such general principles as giving the talk a tight focus and structure and guiding the audience through that structure; taking care with wording, notation, and visuals; balancing conceptual explanations with formal presentation; and acknowledging sources.
- Many opportunities are available for students who would like to gain more practice presenting or teaching math.
- Your institution may have a writing center that helps students to prepare presentations.
- There are many resources online and in the literature for students and educators.