LITR 5831 World / Multicultural Literature:Tragedy & Africa

Student Presentation
Index for student presentation assignments
& guidelines for class participation

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


develop seminar style

students practice presentations and discussions



Four types of student presentations:

discussion leader

Bacchae presentation / discussion

Birth of Tragedy presentation / discussion

Model Assignments highlights / discussion


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

In early class meetings, students indicate preferences for presentations. Volunteers may be solicited for early meetings’ presentations.

During first weeks of semester, a presentation schedule will be drafted and 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 in presentations: 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.

Guidelines for seminar discussions & class participation:

Class participation: Your reading for the course is partly tested by your participation in class discussions of reading assignments led by the instructor. If you do not participate in or track these discussions, the instructor will assume you are unprepared for class and your participation & overall grade will suffer.

· At least occasionally each student should participate in discussion by specifically referring to contents or specific pages of the reading assignment.

· Students should give visible evidence of reading by “tracking” discussions. If students appear bored or clueless, they’re typically willing to blame it on the content, but it’s often a sign they haven’t done their reading and are incapable of following the discussion.

· Participation is judged less on quantity than on appropriateness to the topic under discussion and the point being pursued. When you are called upon to speak, avoid telling a long story with lots of background. Make one point per turn. A list of remarks on several topics confuses your instructor’s or classmates’ response. Choose the most important thing to say at the given moment.

· If I don’t always follow up your comments, this doesn’t indicate a negative reaction. Unless I have something potentially valuable to add, I let a student’s comment “speak for itself” rather than forcing further words when none may be necessary.