American Literature: Romanticism
Student Presentation
Index & general guidelines
for student presentations

Most class meetings feature 2 or more student presentations. Each student leads at least once during semester.


  • develop seminar style
  • students practice presentations and discussions
  • peer-learning

Student presentations take three forms:

Assignments are decided by a combination of student choice, scheduling needs, and chance; student preferences aren't guaranteed.

At first class meeting, students indicate preferences for presentations. Volunteers may be solicited for second meeting’s presentations.

Before second meeting, a presentation schedule will begin to be drafted and will be posted for review. This schedule may remain somewhat incomplete to allow for tweaks across semester, but no sudden changes or surprises should be anticipated.

“Silent Grade” for presentation, responses, etc.

Grade for presentations and general class participation is not announced until the end of the semester in your Final Grade Report.

Rationale for “silent grade”: avoid counter-productive second-guessing, comparing grades, competing to each other’s detriment, or performing to the teacher. Cooperative exercises work best when grading is kept out of sight; however, a grade's leverage may be necessary to motivate work and learning.

Main mistake or misconception to avoid: Your presentation may be your big moment leading the class, but avoid the temptation to deliver a lecture or demonstrate your mastery of the course’s subject matter. Your purpose is above all to focus and lead a discussion. You never finish saying all you could say, and no one wishes you could!

In the best presentations the presenter speaks briefly, rarely more than 2-3 minutes at a time, interspersing insights into the comments before and after the reading and into the discussion.

Single biggest aid to a good discussion: Start discussion as soon as possible after reading the poem. After hearing and sharing the poem, the class is ready to jump in and discuss. Usually the only discussions that "die" are the ones where the students have to wait too long to start talking.

Next biggest aid to a good discussion: Don't save questions and discussion for end, but mix in questions and discussion as presentation proceeds.

More advice for successful presentation:

  • Mix discussion with your own analysis. Instead of telling class what you think, ask what they think, then add what they didn't say for you.

  • When in doubt, ask a question; when in doubt about what questions to ask, review objective(s) and terms.