Presentation Skills iLEAD Schools

Presenting Better Presentations: Teaching Presentation Skills To All Learners

Author: | Category: Making Magic

Meet the Maker

Michael NIehoff, Maker Team Advisor / Content Creator

What’s the Best Advice I’ve Heard?
If it’s not illegal or immoral, why not give it a try?

If I could see one movie again for the first time, what would it be and why?
Schindler’s List

If you could bring back any fashion trend what would it be?
Skinny ties, especially the paisley variety.

This Week’s Why?
Presentations have become one of the most foundational ways that we have learners demonstrate learning. Indeed, teaching is the highest form of learning. So, when we have learners present, they are all essentially teaching – or learning in the highest form. Presentations are one primary way to do this. Learning how to deliver a high quality, professional presentation is valuable both academically and professionally. Presentations require us to use a variety of skills. These include, but are not limited to communication, creativity, critical thinking, inquiry, organization, social awareness, audience analysis, research, leadership, collaboration and so much more. However, even though we are expecting our learners to deliver bigger and better presentations, we often skip teaching them all of the skills and pedagogy involved. A good presentation requires planning, design, practice and all of the aforementioned. There is no doubt that presentation skills are one of the best competencies we can focus on with learners of all ages. Let’s teach them how the pros do it and then some.

This Week’s Focus

Driving Question

How can we support all learners in delivering high quality, professional presentations?

Sharing our work publicly is a vital pedagogical element of project-based learning. These are often done through presentations. We use terms like Presentations of Learning, Defense of Learning, Showcases, Exhibitions and others. Learners present their work publicly in the form of products using technology and other resources. Presentations not only require skills and practice, but also understanding the pedagogy behind both the design and delivery.


Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey has been used to explain a dominant literary approach to storytelling. Since this is ever-present in so much of our modern world of books, movies, plays and more, this can resonate with learners. But, in addition to understanding this common approach to storytelling, they can also realize that they can bring these types of approaches to their presentations as well. Presentations are stories. By becoming a better storyteller, we have upped our presentation game.


In Honing Students’ Speaking Skills, PBL Teacher/Coach Heather Wolpert-Gawron shares some guidelines for teaching all learners to speak credibly and confidently – as essential skill for college and career success.

Classrooms Team shares 8 Ways to Teach Your Students Presentation Skills focusing on how to teach, practice and protocol our way to better presentations.

Finally, read EdPuzzle’s 4 Tips for Using Technology to Teach Public Speaking to see how we can deploy tools like EdPuzzle, Ted Talks, Flipgrid and Podcasting as ways to increase our learners’ presentation skills.

More Magic

Here is a Presentation I have done on how to tell one’s story better. These are some simple, yet professional and effective techniques to improve anyone’s presentation skills and delivery. There are some foundational design techniques that any of us could learn in one day that will deliver a big bang for the buck in all presentations. If you want to learn more, check out the work of corporate presentation training guru Nancy Duarte.

PBLWorks has dozens of Rubrics available for educators to use. Specifically look at the Presentation Rubrics by grade level. Any of these rubrics could certainly be customized. But as classrooms, schools, districts and educational organizations, these can be used to develop common understanding in order to teach and optimize presentation skills and competencies.

Being Makers

Being Makers

Being Makers is a team of change-making leaders from Maker Learning Network and iLEAD Schools focused on project-based learning and social-emotional growth.
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