1) Give students demonstrable goals
What do you want to see if your students can do? What are you looking for? For example, we are currently working on role plays where students make plans with one another. Before they began to plan their dialogues, I told them that I wanted them to show me that they could do the following 5 things:
A) Ask someone to do something or go somewhere
B) Accept an invitation
C) Set a meeting time and place
D) Reject an invitation
E) Make an excuse
2) Share the rubric and explain it to students
This will help your students to further understand what you are looking for in terms of quality. While it may seem clear to you where you want your students to be, it may not be clear to them. The better they understand what you want, the more likely they are to give it you.
3) Have students write out a dialogue
Even if the intention is to assess student speaking, having students create a written dialogue is helpful for a number of reasons. First of all, it will help them to plan and organize in a visual way. It will also help you provide them with feedback and help them polish their accuracy when speaking. Especially if students are working in groups, having a written dialogue will help you to understand who is responsible for what. If a student is absent on presentation day, having a volunteer ask as a stand in and handing them a written dialogue to read from can save you time. Not to mention, putting something in writing makes them accountable for the preparation process.
4) Have students practice with "buddy groups"
Presenting in front of a small group of peers prior to presenting in front of the entire class can help calm nerves and build confidence. It can also be another means of providing feedback to students. Make the "buddy group" provide feedback to the other group by completing an example rubric to show how each of them are doing or by responding to a few questions based on planning and preparation (Is there a member of the group that doesn't speak as much as the others? Provide suggestions to the other group as to how they can get this person more involved. What parts of the presentation were confusing to you? How could they make it clearer?)
5) Have students create multiple choice comprehension questions based on their own presentation and then have the audience answer the questions on presentation day.
This will force the audience to pay close attention to what each role play or presentation says which will automatically encourage silence while others present. It will also give you a chance to assess their listening and identify key vocabulary that they may still find difficult.
Looking for presentation ideas for your own students? Click the links below to check out some of the ones I have ready to go for you!