High School Student Presentation

How a Simple Presentation Framework Helps Students Learn

A fellow researcher and I applied for and received a grant from the Hawaii Innovation Fund a few years ago. When we found out that we would have to give a 15-minute presentation on our grant write-up in front of a room full of educational leaders, the excitement of being given the grant was met with dread and despair. We were told that we would have to present our grant write-up to the audience. After that, my coworker let me know that he would not be in Hawaii during the time of the presentation, as if that wasn’t already terrifying enough. I only had “one shot,” which was a presentation that was only 15 minutes long, to summarise the entire 17-page grant that I had cowritten, but how?

I put in a lot of effort to develop and provide a presentation that was clear and concise all at the same time. I had a firm grasp on the overarching structure of the grant, and I was able to give a concrete example of how it operated in practise. I made certain that everybody in attendance were aware of the “why” of the grant. I demonstrated how it functioned, including the specific components of it and how those components contributed to its overall success. I completed by constructing a structure that would assist others in understanding how to initiate it within their own environment, so allowing them the freedom to make it truly authentic to themselves.

I got some nice comments from the presentation, and what’s even more important is that the information that was presented had a beneficial impact on the learning of students in other classrooms across the state.


It took me more than a month to prepare for that first presentation, but following that, I saw that the amount of time it took me to prepare for presentations dramatically decreased, going from a few months to a few (uninterrupted) days. In a really interesting turn of events, the process of developing the initial presentation resulted in the development of an abstract framework that I have utilised for each and every professional learning presentation that I have given since that time. The following is an explanation of the “What, Why, How, and How-To” framework:

What? What aspects of the event can the audience readily relate to and understand so that they can more easily transition into the unknown?
Why? Why should people make the effort to listen to the rest of the presentation (and benefit from the information that it contains)? Why should they make the transition from being passive listeners to actively participating in the conversation? The audience has a right to know the reasoning behind why you feel obligated to share this information given how strongly you feel about it.


The ability of the presenter to improve their communication skills is one of the most valuable benefits that can be gained from giving presentations. The presenter is gaining experience in giving presentations by actually giving them. In order to properly prepare a presentation, the presenter needs to have a thorough understanding of the complex aspects of the material they will be presenting as well as the reasons behind the significance of those aspects. It is the responsibility of the presenter to ensure that all members of the audience are both able and willing to digest the information that is being presented during the presentation by being clear-spoken and precise.

I didn’t have to think about it for very long before I realised that giving my students the opportunity to prepare and give presentations may be a really beneficial educational experience for them.

When I was a teacher, I used to explain mathematical topics by having my students immediately put their newly acquired information to use to complete the assignment in complete quiet and without asking any further in-depth questions. It wasn’t until I pushed them to give presentations on these ideas that they started asking me on a frequent basis, “Why is this essential again? ” or “What makes this so special?” The “What, Why, How, and How-To” framework, which helped my students in their capacity to demonstrate topic knowledge through mathematical rigour, was crucial in the growth of my students’ mathematical literacy as they prepared presentations with it (balancing conceptual understanding, skills and procedural fluency, and real-world application).

The mathematical idea was represented by the “what” question.
The “why” section provided an illustration of how the notion could be applied in real life.
The “how” question revealed a knowledge of the idea at the conceptual level.
The “how-to” section illustrated the necessary abilities and steps to complete the task.
In addition to having an in-depth understanding of the material being presented, the presenter must also possess the sequential competences of clarity, coherence, and captivation in order to effectively convey the information to the audience. When taken together, these components formed the basis of a rubric that assisted students in honing the delivery of their presentations. The following is a list of the competencies:

1. Knowledge of the subject matter. In order to discuss the “what, why, how, and how-to” of the subject matter, the presenter needs to demonstrate that they have an in-depth understanding of what they are giving.

2. Explicitness The presenter is responsible for using language that is unambiguous and intellectual. Because the audience may not be familiar with the topic they give, any ambiguity will result in the audience’s disengagement. Providing a broad audience with access to numerous modes of representation is a terrific way to cater to their wide range of processing requirements.

3. the capacity for cohesion When making explicit connections, the presenter should bridge the gaps between the various distinct components by demonstrating how they all work together as important parts of the subject matter being discussed. Any gaps that are too great may cause the elements to give the appearance of being fragmented, or even worse, may cause the audience to feel lost.

4. The power to captivate. The presenter is responsible for capturing the audience’s attention using any mix of audience participation and storytelling. In the end, they leave the audience with a delicate balance of feeling fulfilled and eager to learn more, which they achieve by giving the presentation the flow and intensity of a song.

With the “What, Why, How, and How-To” structure, as well as the competences of topic understanding, clarity, coherence, and captivation, anyone can construct an effective presentation. The more effectively we instruct and guide other people through the process of developing and delivering presentations, the more we may learn from these persons through the work that they do.

One of the students in my class who is proficient in multiple languages provided a response to the question “What are the non-math (life lessons) you have found to be helpful from this semester?” using phrases like “I discover what studying and teaching… When it came time for me to give my presentation, I finally grasped how teaching is, in fact, learning. I’ve discovered that I have some interest in working in education. I have faith that you were able to pick up some useful information from this lesson. When they present, my students almost always teach me something new.