The hands-off approach to student presentations: Gallery walks in intermediate language classes

Janaya Lasker-Ferretti, Lecturer III of Italian, Coordinator for Italian 231 & 232, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan

3:30 pm central time, Thursday, November 12

Session recording HERE

Description: Student presentations done in class, a staple in any language classroom, are often taxing for all involved: the presenter, their peers, and the instructor.  Public speaking is already challenging enough in one’s native language, let alone in another, so in Intermediate Italian classes at the University of Michigan, with the help and support of the LRC, we have come up with a way of doing presentations in the form of a gallery walk.  Four times a semester, a handful of students present in small rooms (or online on Blue Jeans) and host groups of 3-4 students as they travel from one presenter’s “room” to another.  These presentations are recorded automatically either on Blue Jeans or in person on an Ipad and the instructor is simply there to help them keep time and watches the presentations later. After three years of doing presentations this way, we have discovered that students report much less stress when presenting, are allowed to make mistakes and recover from them (as they choose which presentation the instructor grades), and actually enjoy engaging with their peers in this way.

About the discussant: Janaya Lasker-Ferretti is the coordinator of Italian 231 and 232 and Italian internships.  She has taught in RLL for over five years and has been teaching Italian and humanities courses for over fifteen years. Janaya completed her Ph.D. in Italian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley where she focused on modern Italian Literature and Art history.  She has researched the verbo-visual media by women of Italian Futurism and has published on Benedetta Cappa Marinetti. 

Her love of words and images informs her teaching and she offers a language course focusing on Italian comics. She is passionate about language teaching and its place in higher education and beyond.  She has experience studying, living, and teaching in Italy and believes everyone should spend time abroad.

She is one of the first people in the nation to use GradeCraft in language learning and teaching (a learning management system based on gameful pedagogy created at University of Michigan). To support her endeavors in GradeCraft, she has received several grants at the University of Michigan. Janaya is always interested in innovating the way Italian is taught and bettering the way students learn and become proficient in it.  

She has an espresso machine in her office and is always happy to share an espresso with students, colleagues, and friends. 

Delivery format: Zoom meeting

Contact: Jana Martin, Associate Director, Language Institute. Email Jana for access to a recording of the session.

If you need accommodations to participate in this event, contact Adolfo Carrillo Cabello at least three business days prior to the event.

Sponsors: University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Language Media Center; University of Michigan, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) Language Resource Center; University of Minnesota, College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Language Center; Michigan State University, Center for Language Teaching Advancement; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Language Institute