500 Words At A Time: As A Teacher, Part 13

Lucky 13.

Today was mini-presentations. The students got ten minutes to present their online portfolios to the professor, myself, and PK (another 499er from last year). In that 10-minutes they were to do their best to tell us about themselves and their portfolios. As I wrote about yesterday, some of them were more prepared than others, but the overall level of preparation was low. In other words, all of them need more work.

Our job as observers was to write down notes concerning their presentation style, their portfolio, to ask questions, give suggestions, and to be hard on them. Yes, hard on them. Apparently, I was expected to be the hardest, maybe the way I dress? 🙂

In order to keep from writing the same thing a dozen times here are the highlights:

All of them need to include more about who they are, what they have learned, and generally give readers a better reason why, other than it was an assignment, they created a portfolio. There was a ton of presentation of skills and a couple full-on explanations of a sample. To understand, a student should be able to explain enough about a sample that the audience understands why the student chose the sample and what skills the sample shows. Hopefully, the explanation has enough of a hook that people seek out the sample in detail. The audience does not need to be walked through the entire process of creating the sample.

Everyone spoke way too fast.

There was a general lack of focus. Because the students did not include themselves in their presentation they had no way to start their presentations off other than to dive headfirst into the technical or background aspects of a sample. Which gave us, the audience, no way to know anything about the student.

Samples were all over the place. An impression of mine was that some of the samples were chosen not because they meant anything to student, but because they felt that they “had” to have something there. I would rather you not show off something that you are not proud of…then again pride is still an issue.

None of them thought about how they were going to present their samples. This is a problem. The student should be able to guide viewers through their portfolios, hitting the highlights and emphasizing skills, talents, and showing off the cool stuff. Because they had not thought about how to present their samples, they went in order that their site put them. This generally turned out to be a bad idea as you could see and hear how uninterested they were in their own work…until one or two of them hit upon something that they were proud of and then the energy changed…until they were done with that sample and back to the stuff they could care less about.

A lack of energy. I get that this was sprung on them, but they should have been excited to show off the work that they had done. Instead, it felt more like an execution or waiting for the dentist to call you back.

There was a three-minute long…rant, venting…shit I don’t know what it was, but I know that I hope the student got it out of their system and never does that again in front of me. It was in a single word, offensive. And if I am saying that you can only imagine what was said.

At the end of the class the students received one set of notes from the professor. PK and I kept ours for later, after PK goes through their print portfolios. Being honest, I was disappointed. I know that they don’t have to impress me, but they do, I could be the person hiring them one day and what I saw was a lack of preparation, a lack of interest in their own work, a lack of pride, a lack of understanding of who they are and what they can do. What I saw was a lot of “did it because it was an assignment.” Hopefully, the notes, our questions, and suggestions get them to see a new…better…way to approach their work.



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