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.
For many middle- and high-school students, giving an in-class presentation was a rite of passage... [T]hough 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.... Communication is one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace....
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 15-year-old high-school student 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.
Mark Manson wrote the best response to this on Twitter:
"No one should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable." - The kids don't realize that it's the doing that creates comfort, not the avoiding.
True, true, true! If students are required to do a presentation, most will realize, "Wow! That wasn't so bad!"
But the idea of so many students feeling tormented is unsettling, too.
So at Let Grow, our hope is to nip a whole lot of youth anxiety in the bud by giving kids back their independence early enough that they develop confidence the old-fashioned way: by doing some things (including screwing up, getting lost, and figuring things out) on their own.
Here's how schools can work on that. Meantime, what happened when YOU had to give a report in school? And what was its long-term effect, if any? - L
About Lenore Skenazy
Lenore is president of Let Grow, and founder of the Free-Range Kids movement (and book!). A former newspaper reporter, she lives in New York City with her husband. Their sons have flown the coop, which is good for “proof of concept” purposes, but she misses them.