Friday, 12 April 2013

Resources & Tips For Oral Exams / Show & Tell Presentations



Different schools have different ways of preparing children for oral examinations. Different schools also begin these preparations at different pace (consistent practice / last minute preps :sweat:) and these preparations largely also depends on the teachers assigned to your children's classes. :xedfingers: My girls have been extremely blessed. Their teachers prepare them sufficiently for this part of the English Exam. As parents, we have continuously been informed not to worry as the teachers are here to teach... it is their responsibility. Not the parents'. :love:

My DD2's class uses this series from Marshall Cavendish. I said "DD2's class" because I am unsure if the other classes were informed to purchase them as well. :sweat: But yes, her teacher prepares them for these things. :please:

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Should you wish to help your child at home (in case the school does not adequately prepare them for this) or even if it is just that you wanna pump in the extra boost, apart from what they have been practicing in school.. you can shop for resources to help your child. There is quite a variety to choose from. This is one of them and somewhat an all in one. 

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The primary school series from OXFORD Primary Essentials are pretty impressive as well. :D

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When I was coaching a struggling P4 boy with his oral and literacy skills... he was shy in his mom's presence so it was challenging to get him to read (the way I have been teaching him to) in front of her, each time she came to fetch him. So with his consent, I recorded his passage reading sessions on condition the videos did not show his face. Since... well, oral was audio after all... i agreed. From these videos, it helped the mother (Chinese educated) track his marked progress. Why progress and not success? Because he was a failing student who was in the midst of drowning within the cracks. However he was still undetected; because his class had too many children for the teacher to effectively zoom in to the children who required extra help with their work. They do attend Learning Support Programmes; these children... but it was not sufficient for their foundation from early years to lower primary was weak and they seemed to always need to play catch-up. Hence, in Upper Primary they just sail along the way the know how. 

I remember sharing this (show and tell experience) in another thread but will share it again here should anyone find it useful to try it out at home with your children. We were very enlightened about the school's practice sessions (for show and tell) during one of the school's Parent-As-Partners initiatives. The MT department invited all parents (not compulsory) to sit in a practice session where about 6 children will present. Our slots were scheduled according to index number and only when it came to our children's turns to present to the class and invited parents.

All the children in class were taught to be respectful during their friends' presentation and after every presentation, the teacher invited classmates to feedback.. yes, feedback to the presenter. The teacher also prepared smiley cards for every child in the class (one happy face and the other a sad one) to allow the presenter to see what or how the audience appreciated his/her presentation. 

1. Voice projection... loud.. soft.. too soft.. or just right..

Then a show of smiley faces (cards) to express that the friend presented well or a show of sad faces to indicate that the friend's presentation could use more zest. The children who raised the sad face cards were then invited to offer their thought on what they thought of the presentation and how/what they thought the presenter could improve on. 

2. Show and tell props... too much.. too few.. adequate..

Or perhaps something interesting? Similar to the 1st feedback round, peers are encouraged to give feedback to presenter. Children are encouraged to bring something to tell. Well, of cos since it IS show and tell. :lol: Besides, these props help children to remember the sequence of their presentation.

3. Language/grammar usage?

Was the grammar used in the right context? Any good words used during presentation? The extra I asked DD2 to include was humour. You see after watching so many presentations, it can get pretty routine. The injection of humour perks the audience and later on the examiner as well. Most importantly, no Singlish. :wink:

4. Are the children adequately prepared?

Children were encouraged to memorize their content and speak confidently while facing the class. Eye on the people and not the floor... or at least not too long. A prepared child will exude confidence as he/she will know what to say. ie. content wise, already there... unless if total mental block which indirectly goes to show that these consistent school practices are indeed extremely useful for children especially for those who may not necessarily have home support.

5. Expression? (etc)

The soft skills the children were indirectly taught while preparing for this presentation and the gradual preparations done with the teacher were awesome. Holistic education IS possible to be inculcated in classrooms and during classroom hours. Our school visit during the show and tell was proof of that... on top of what we hear from our children's sharings of/from school and what we can see from the projects or the work they bring home. 

My P5 DD1 experienced something different, they had to recite poetry in class for oral skills last year. :love:

My girls are not from fancy schools :dowan:... They are attending/have attended neighbourhood schools within proximity of our residence. Hence, suffice to say that all schools are good schools (they can jolly-well be!) but......... of course, it's the individual teachers that make the difference. Every single one of them... for together they can make a great team to form good schools. :wink:

So here's to all the fabulous teachers out there.. you know who you are. :celebrate:

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