ENG 260 Student-Led Discussion Guidelines


Each week in the second half of this semester we will have small groups of students, working together, lead a discussion for 20 minutes at the start of class about the theory or theories covered in the Oxford Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature readings for a particular week.

For student discussion leaders:

Your job is to raise what you think are the most interesting issues about the theory/approach to literature studied that week. You may focus directly on the theory as a set of ideas, or on the particular application of it to something of interest in Turn of the Screw, or on a blend of both. Be able to summarize what you think are some most beneficial things about the theory or theories studied that week, what you like best about them, what makes them useful for asking new and different questions of literature, and then think of some questions both you and the class will find interesting to consider about their limitations: what do they not do so well? Where do you disagree with the view they take of reading and studying literature? You will also be the experts for the day, so your job is to be able to at least try to answer any questions your peers have about the ideas you all have read and you raise.

If you wish to use handouts, online material via the class computer, that is your option but is not required. If you wish to tell students to focus on particular ideas or pages in the chapter ahead of time, to prepare a more focused discussion, you just have to let me know to tell them.

The day you present (usually a Friday) is already on the syllabus.

This counts for 10% of  your grade.

For those not leading the discussion:

Your job is to do the readings as assigned, then to be willing and able to talk. Your incentive to talk and participate in your peersí discussion and conversation is that you will soon have to be on the other end of the stick and you surely donít want your audience sitting like lumps on logs while you try to start a conversation, and you really donít want them unable to converse because they havenít read.  If you feel the material is difficult, and it will be sometimes, you can always ask those most useful questions, if there is something in a chapter, about a theory, how itís applied, that you just donít understand. The point here is to help us all understand how a number of theories work and what they can do to illuminate literary texts. No one is obliged to agree with any one theory but everyone is obliged to try to understand them.

As we agreed in class, each student not presenting will send to me, via email, a brief evalution of the strengths and weaknesses of the discussion group. You may do this as simple bullet points, or as a more discursive paragraph, whatever works best for you. These are due by or before the class preceding the next group discussion leading day, usually a Wednesday.

This is part of your particiaption grade and is not optional.