Updated in 2009
What is expected from individual in-class presentations:
1) Your job in in-class presentations is to get the class thinking about the reading. Keep the presentation short. 10-15 minutes should be plenty of time. You should not summarize the entire reading assignment. Rather, focus on one or two key issues, answer some of my web-posted questions, and pose (and answer) a question or two of your own. Organize your presentation around the subjects that are interesting to you, which is not necessarily the order of presentation of material in the reading assignment. You don’t want to be saying, for instance, that after chapter 2 comes chapter 3, and then we get to chapter 4… If you have a critique or criticism of the reading, all the better. What do you see as the inherent weaknesses and strengths of the author's argument? How does the kind of evidence the author relies on affect the kind of conclusions they can draw? Brevity and clarity will be rewarded in presentation grades, as will interesting critiques that get the class thinking.
2) Try to make eye contact with your fellow classmates.
3) Please do not read from notes, and please do not read from the text. You can use notes to remind you of key points. It is helpful to practice your presentation at least once on your own before class.
4) Assume that the class has done the reading.
5) If you have questions of your own to propose to the class, please also have answers in mind so that you can steer the discussion.
6) It is useful to train yourself not to speak too quickly, and not to fill your speaking pauses with a lot of “Uhhhs” and “Ummms.” These speech patterns are natural, and you probably don’t realize how often you say them. Record yourself, and you may be a little surprised. You will sound smarter if you allow yourself to pause fully, and avoid the “Ummms.”
7) Don’t apologize for verbal miscues or for losing your train of thought momentarily. The apology ends up being just a further distraction to the listener.