A Speech Is Not an Essay


These are some important points of distinctions of speeches and presentations from essays. This is something we educators might dismiss as obvious, until we assign a presentation as an alternative option to an essay in school whether the school is elementary, secondary, or post-secondary. A teacher could read this as a guide for discussion, but could also assign the reading to secondary school students (high school, college) as a prompt for producing a Venn Diagram or some other graphic organizer establishing comparisons of the two products. It might be helpful to also develop a rubric with the class for each product. You might complement this activity with one or two TEDx videos of presentations. Depending on the student Internet access profile of the school, students might watch these videos at home as homework and make some notes about technical aspects of the video (based on the points made in this article). These notes could be submitted online in Google Forms (teacher created) or some other application’s forms. In this way, technology is involved in different ways while not becoming a distraction by being unwieldy. Otherwise, if students do not have broadband Internet access, video viewing might be completed in class, perhaps with guided viewing (similar to guided reading), and the assignment could be submitted with school-provided laptop carts, iPads, or via traditional pen and paper response. The teacher might also consider the use of a “bad” or “less than great” example of a presentation which might be found on Youtube.