The Atlantic

Teens Are Protesting In-Class Presentations

Some students say having to speak in front of the class is an unreasonable burden for those with anxiety and are demanding alternative options.
Source: Getty

For many middle- and high-school students, giving an in-class presentation was a rite of passage. Teachers would call up students, one by one, to present their work in front of the class and, though it was often nerve-racking, many people claim it helped turn them into more confident public speakers.

“Coming from somebody with severe anxiety, having somebody force me to do a public presentation was the best idea to happen in my life,” one woman recently tweeted. According to a recent survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, oral communication is one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace, with over 90 percent of hiring managers saying it’s important. Some educators also credit in-class presentations with building essential leadership skills and increasing students’ confidence and understanding of material.

But in the past few years, students have started calling out in-class presentations as discriminatory to those with anxiety, demanding that teachers offer alternative options. This week, a tweet posted by a declaring “Stop forcing students to present in front of the class and give them a choice not to” garnered more than 130,000 retweets and nearly half a million likes. A similar sentiment also racked up thousands of likes and retweets. And teachers are listening.  

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