Praxis Elementary Education Exam—Oral Presentations

By Carla C. Kirkland, Chan Cleveland

Because students are generally expected to give oral presentations in class, you will probably encounter a question on this topic in the Praxis Elementary Education exam.

More formal than group discussion, oral presentations have their own set of rules for the speaker. When giving a classroom presentation, there are several considerations for the speaker to keep in mind:

  • Audience. Who they are? What do they already know? Do you need to give them any background information?
  • Occasion. What is it? Is it somber? Happy? It should affect what you say and how you say it.
  • Opening and closing statements. These should be short and strong; the opening should at least imply the thesis, and the closing should state it directly.
  • Organization. The main points should be clear, support the thesis, and flow in a logical manner or structure.
  • Support details. These should be specific; there should be at least three per main point.
  • Eye contact. Look directly at your listeners from time to time.
  • Looking lively. Stand in a relaxed yet energized manner; make hand gestures where appropriate.
  • Speaking lively. Considering your audience and purpose as you do so, use an appropriate tone; vary the volume and pitch in appropriate places so that you’re not using a monotone.
  • Humor. Especially at the start, a pertinent, humorous anecdote or joke can help relax an audience—and you. Keep in mind, however, that humor may not be appropriate for some occasions.
  • Visual aids. Use these as added support details where appropriate and possible.

Practice question

  1. A student has prepared a speech on the importance of funding for the space program. She first delivers the speech to her Science class at the end of their section on space travel. The following week, she is scheduled to present the speech in her Language Arts class. What change in her presentation is most likely necessary?
    A. the addition of background information
    B. the removal of the visual aids
    C. a conversion from an emphatic structure to a problem/solution one
    D. the taking of a very rigid approach, avoiding any eye contact

Answer and explanation

  1. The correct answer is Choice (A).
    Her new audience, the Language Arts class, most likely does not know some necessary background information that her Science class studied. Choice (B) is wrong because visual aids help the audience understand. Choice (C) is wrong because the essence of the speech is the importance of funding, and the best structure to support content emphasizing importance is emphatic. Choice (D) is wrong because a rigid approach is never helpful and making eye contact is always a good idea.