Okay, so this is part 2 of my previous post a few weeks ago. My 8th grade class is writing speeches they are expected to give to their classmates. I have about 4 students who say they are not speaking in front of their classmates. One girl said she would have an asthma attack(is that even possible?) if she did. Another girl said she just can't do it because she can't talk in front of people. A few boys refuse as well. I even divided the class up into groups of five students for the speeches and they still say they can't. Unless I adjust the rubric, they will fail the speech if they don't present it. I have been told they did things like this previously for other classes. I told the students that if they have a legitimate health concern about giving a speech, they need to have a parent contact me. I guess I'm just worried I'm being unreasonable with my request. The thing is, its part of the standards. This year, I haven't really forced the students to speak or share things enough, which is why I think the speech is so important. Obviously, I don't want to put anyone's health in danger or cause panic attacks. I also know that I hated public speaking, but I never refused to do it. It's just so frustrating! Would you still make the grade depend on the presentation after the students bring up these health concerns? Should I talk to my principal to make sure it's okay? Or is it just an excuse to get out of it?
For one thing -- speaking in front of a group is a life skill.
Plus -- they will be required to do it in upper grades.
Perhaps you can go over ways to be more comfortable -- have notecards -- know your subject -- etc. Talk about ways to be an appropriate audience -- and take off points for those who can't listen and ask questions appropriately!
I think you said you were teaching ELA. Part of that is speaking/listening skills. I taught 6th, but we gave a grade on report card for speaking/listening, so I definitely think it's valid for you to require them to talk in front of others, esp. in 8th grade. How long is the speech? Do they have to memorize it? I think an 8th grader should be able to speak for 1-2 min minimum, with notes, in front of their peers. It is a life skill and part of the standards.
I would go over the rubric with the whole class, so they know they will be graded on the giving of the speech, not just the writing of it. Make sure they understand that refusing will ultimately lead to a failing grade on the speech. Go over speaking tips, to ease nerves. Go over audience expectations too. Then don't bring up the "refusal" issue again.
Unless a parent calls (which I doubt they will!) I wouldn't even mention it to your principal. The kids are totally just trying to get out of it, so stay strong! I would also try to incorporate low-stress situations for kids to develop discussion skills. They should be discussing books/ideas, sharing writing, etc on a regular basis, so as to build up speaking/listening!
Yes, this is ELA. I agree that it is a life skill. They have discussions and share somewhat when we talk about novels in class but they haven't really done anything formal yet. I think it's a good idea to teach them strategies to make them more comfortable and I will be as supportive as possible, but I have a few very strong-willed students. I hate to have them fail a project like this if they do refuse, but I guess that responsibility will be on them.
I teach language arts, 8th grade, and we are doing speeches right now as well ~ funny! What I'm hoping to do (time allowing) is to tell them that if they get their speech written in a timely manner, they can put their notes on a power point or prezi. (That's a BIG carrot to dangle in front of them!) This will give the speaker something to look at when presenting ~ and something to look at that is better than notes because with notes they have to look down; using a projection, they will be looking up at the projection, which is a little closer to looking at the audience. Also, then the audience has something to see which will benefit their learning. If you don't have the technology for this, then let them make posters. It'll serve the same purpose. I'm looking forward to this ~ hopefully this will help you, too!
We always had presentations every year. The previous grade level would let kids do them in partners. So they would always ask if they could do it in partners and we said no. Then, our whole curriculum got switched and there is zero public speaking in it. We still did some off the curriculum projects and had kids present as a group of four. Whoa! They were pretty difficult to listen to. The kids wouldn't speak up or slow down and tended to rush through it.
I know that we always had to do speeches in school. I practically did have a panic attack once, but I got through it. One thing that really helped back then was having notecards. Also, in our first speech, we got to do it on one of our interests. That really helped.
I say stick to your guns and maybe offer using some type of slides or notes. I would also make sure the other kids were told to be a good audience. I do remember me telling my students last year about doing speeches and them saying, "I'd take a zero." Other students were saying, "I'd skip school." They were a difficult and uncooperative group, so I think they were serious. Sadly, our admin. would not support us and would force us to do an "alternative" project.