University of Vermont

Center for Teaching and Learning

Teaching International and Multilingual Students

Helping Students Prepare for In-Class Presentations

International or multilingual students may view in-class presentations with heightened anxiety, with the pressure of public speaking in a non-native language added to what is, for many, a new and unfamiliar type of academic assignment. Some strategies to help students prepare successfully for presentations include:

  • Be specific about how the presentation will be evaluated and whether students should or should not use notes. Consider providing a specific time limit (e.g., 10 minutes) whenever appropriate.
  • Encourage students to use PowerPoint and/or distribute a handout or outline to the audience, to help keep everyone on point and in sync.
  • Make clear that students should rehearse their presentation (multiple times!). Encourage practicing in front of a native English-speaking friend or tutor several times to work out their jitters and get feedback.
  • Invite students to visit you during office hours to discuss their plan—ideally, well in advance of the due date.
  • For group presentations, seek a mix of domestic and international students and a structure ensuring participation by all.
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