- Is it unfair to expect students who struggle with anxiety to stand before their classmates and deliver a presentation? That’s what some teens are saying in posts on social media, according to The Atlantic.
- A recent tweet from a 15-year-old asking educators to “stop forcing” students to present in class was retweeted 130,000 times and liked almost half a million times, and students are saying that if they have anxiety issues, they are likely to get lower grades even if they completed their research and what they prepared to deliver met the expectations of the assignment.
- While some educators sympathize with the students and say there are other ways to show what they’ve learned, others say part of education is learning to stretch beyond comfort zones.
With strong communication skills being one of the indicators of career-readiness that schools — and employers — are increasingly expecting from today’s students, it’s not surprising that teachers would make in-class presentations part of a student’s grade.
Some districts have also been moving toward more performance assessments, which might include speeches or demonstrations, and placing less emphasis on standardized tests as the only way to measure what a student knows and can do. With such testing flexibility allowed under the Every Student Succeeds Act, it’s likely more schools and districts will incorporate alternative forms of assessment in the future.
Anxiety, however, can lead to absenteeism and only worsen as students get older. With efforts to increase mental health services in schools, students who face these issues may be more likely to find that there are professionals they can turn to for support. Schools can also provide educators with training on how to work with students who experience extreme stress related to such assignments. Teachers can help students take smaller steps toward presenting in class, such as working with a partner, presenting to a smaller group or using technology as part of the presentation.