Guidelines for Leading-Off Student Discussion:
for Your Day
You will have a timed 15 minutes of class to begin a class on a topic of your choice. You may choose to present the material in whatever style you feel will be comfortable for you and effective for the class. Do not assume you can pack a complete class into 15 minutes; rather, assume that you are showing to us all how you would begin to help us all understand the work(s) of your choice from the syllabus. You should pick one particular topic. It may be drawn from a formal, close-reading of the text; from relevant biographical information; from relevant cultural contexts; from whatever you think will allow you to illuminate some particular, significant aspect of either one or several texts. If there are multiple texts on your presentation day, you do not have to address them all, but you may do so if you wish to pursue a topic that synthesizes several works.
Although you have less talking time than you might
do have at your disposal all of the teaching tools you might wish to
use in a
full class, and are encouraged to use any handouts or study guides you
By all means it will help to direct the class ahead of time, in the
yours and/or via email (see below) concerning what questions to
a text, what sections of texts to focus on. If you have electronic
sites you wish to use before/and or in your class be sure to get those
to me at
least one class session in advance of your teaching day. Any power
files, web pages, URLs, are easy for me to post to the server space
syllabus is in if you give me some lead time.
The most important advice is to not try to do too
to present one focused topic well.
You will be graded on teaching fundamentals, including: organization and preparation; clarity; command of material; ability to engage and energize; appropriateness of pitch to your graduate student audience. Your peers are your main audience; don't just direct the lesson at me. I do recognize that for some of you this may be the first teaching you've ever done, and will indeed take that into account.
Every presenter will turn in a one-page summary of your presentation plan. Summarize the topic you chose to present and what you found interesting enough about it to tell others. Indicate if you have or have not had prior teaching or presentation experience.
Listen attentively, take notes, have questions to
To help me evaluate the teaching, every class member except the presenter will send me via email as file a brief, 1-page evaluation of the teaching, due before the next student teaching happens. Be concrete, fair and civil, but critical in your remarks.
For sending teaching instructions, materials:
Return to Syllabus