For this assignment, students in WR 112 work in teams to explore a short assigned course reading in greater depth and practice their oral presentation skills at the same time. Note that this assignment, which should occur somewhere between the third week of the semester and the eleventh week (that is, when reading and analyzing texts from the anthology) does not use the jigsaw-puzzle structure of the WR 111 version of this assignment and is designed to foster deeper discussion and analysis of the assigned readings than is possible in WR 111. Refer to the Faculty Guide to WR 112 if you are not sure how this assignment fits into the arc of the WR 112 semester.
to develop proficiency in academic language and build confidence in public speaking; to work in groups to analyze multiple aspects of a challenging text; to use multimodal formats as part of an oral presentation; to practice facilitating a large-group discussion and cultivate team management skills.
analysis; summary; oral presentation; group work
- Work in a team of 2-3 students to lead a lively intellectual discussion among your classmates on an essay, and (on other class days) participate in your classmates’ discussions.
- Facilitate a 20-minute discussion in class. Note that this is not a “presentation” in the most formal sense: instead of talking for the entire time, you and your teammates will facilitate a discussion among your classmates.
- Plan on holding the floor, with your teammates, for 20 minutes (25 minutes is a hard deadline). Note that I reserve the right to step in and help steer the discussion if need be, for the benefit of everyone in the class. Essentially, though, you and your teammates are in charge of the class for 25 minutes.
- Use the board, present slides or visual aids, have the class use Google Docs or any collaboration apps, lead a general discussion, divide people into groups, use games, or combine any of these options as you see fit. Be creative!
- Remember, though, that the point of this assignment is for your classmates to have an active discussion of the text–if you and your partners simply lecture, or if you only involve 1-2 others in the discussion, the presentation will not be as effective as it could.
- Make notes, a handout, slides, or other materials available to your classmates after the presentation for them to keep for reference.
- Do not lecture. Speak clearly, correctly, and in an engaging academic manner.
- Become experts on your assigned essay, and stick to the text at hand. While you may wish to bring in a bit of context/background information, and while I encourage connections to other readings we have done together, you do not need to do extensive research for this presentation, and you should not distract yourself and your classmates to the extent that we lose focus on the essay at hand.
- Ensure the participation of all or almost all of your classmates. Build in opportunities for your classmates to actively analyze the reading and share their own interpretations (see the “Key Elements” section, below, for more specifics).
- Participate equally with your teammates, at all stages of this assignment.
- At least 3-4 carefully thought-out questions for the class. Note: you might well end up asking significantly more than four questions; this is a bare minimum.
- At least 4-6 specific passages from the assigned text that you want the class to examine
- At least one connection to another reading we have done together in class
- Close analysis (not mere summary) of the essay at hand, covering at least three of the following aspects of your assigned essay. Note: You do not need to cover these separately, or even in this order, and it is up to you how you cover them.
- Themes: What are the key themes in this essay? How do they relate to each other, and to those of other texts we have read together?
- Style: What rhetorical devices does the author use? Why? How is the essay constructed? How does its style relate to its content?
- Vocabulary: What are the key difficult words in this text? Which words can you see yourself using in other academic contexts? What kind of diction does the author use, and how does this type of diction affect our reading of the essay?
- Grammar (sentence structure): What do you notice about the author’s syntax? What structures, on the sentence level, does the author use, and why? What can you teach your classmates about grammar on the basis of examples from this essay?
- Your classmates will offer you and your teammates feedback after your presentation. What did they learn from your discussion? What did they want to find out more about? What did they find effective about your presentation style and/or multimodal elements? What could have benefitted from additional work?
- You and your group will also reflect on your presentation. How well did you work together as a team? What do you think was most effective about your presentation? What strategies did you use when planning the presentation that you might use again in other contexts? What would you do differently if you could do things over again?