Presentations/Leading Class Discussions

When it is your turn to present a reading and lead a class discussion, you should plan to engage the class through explanation, sharing examples, and discussion for approx. 20 minutes. Each presenter is responsible for an individual presentation/discussion of the article in its entirety. If another student has signed up for the same article, it is strongly recommended that you be in contact with them to make sure that your preparation is distinct and covers different ground (or approaches the subject matter differently). You are welcome to collaborate to more closely analyze the article and may draw from similar multimedia examples, but each presenter is ultimately responsible for uniquely engaging with and facilitating discussion around the article. Also consider the following:

You should be able to provide the following information:

  • Brief background on who the author(s) is, and how their background, historical context, etc. may have influenced what they had to say or the style in which they wrote. (For example, is the author known as being part of a political movement? Do they teach in a particular academic department at a university that would explain their methods? Are they controversial in any way? What training did they need to be able to write this article?)
  • What are they saying in the piece? Identify and articulate main topics, arguments, and ideas.
  • What is the author’s method? What is their research process? How do they argue their points? What evidence do they use? Why would they have picked these methods to convey this information?

Try to look closely at the text:

  • Draw the class to specific passages in the reading that help clarify the information you have provided regarding the article’s main points and methods.
  • Draw the class to specific passages that remain particularly confusing (these might be helpful discussion points).

Engagement and application:

  • Be prepared to offer a few concrete examples of historical or contemporary phenomena that relate to the issues raised by the author(s). These can be objects, film clips, websites, etc. Help imagine the author’s ideas by relating them to things that the class might find more familiar. (For example, if they are writing about something historical, are there equivalent contemporary examples? If they are writing about something contemporary, can you think of additional examples, or of similar (or contrasting) methods used to prove similar points or counterpoints?)
  • Bring examples to class for discussion (including DVDs, objects, links to web content, etc). Arrive 5-10 minutes early to prep your audiovisual aids.

Ask compelling questions:

  • Think of questions that engage the class, cause them to think , and prompt them to respond. Try to think beyond “yes” or “no” responses and attempt to draw people out.
  • Although there is a “presentational” component to working with the article you have selected, you are also responsible for stimulating a lively class discussion.

Here is a PDF file of the grading rubric that corresponds with these guidelines: Presentation/Discussion rubric


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