Every semester, I struggle with deciding how many (if any) student presentations my students should complete in my courses. As someone who doesn’t exactly thrive in public speaking situations, I know how anxiety-provoking class presentations can be. Still, I also believe there are so many benefits to student presentations that not including any in my course design would be a failing in my teaching style. In today’s post, I share a few presentation projects my students have completed over the years and why I think these student presentation activities are so powerful for student learning.
I’ve never had a whole class of students cheer when I tell them they will complete a group project in our course. Usually, students automatically worry about having to work with peers they don’t know. They wonder how much work they’ll end up being responsible for or how often they’ll have to meet outside of class. In all the courses I’ve used my group project, however, the large majority of students express their enjoyment of the experience and/or how much they learned from the experience. In today’s post, I go through all the details of this project so that you have a basic college group project design ready to be tweaked and brought into your own classroom.
It’s been over a month since my fall semester began. The introductory material for my ENG 170 class – background information on the always-changing and fluid concept of “childhood,” the history of children’s literature, some basic literary terminology – have all been covered, though not to the extent that I would like. Introductory courses call for so much material to be covered and sixteen weeks is never enough time to accomplish that task to the degree I would wish for my students. Nevertheless, my class has moved on to the next major section of my course design: learning how to write literary analysis. Of course, this assumes we are also working on another primary goal: learning how to analyze children’s literature in any mental, verbal, and/or written form.
As I’m about two weeks into this second unit of my course, with two more weeks ahead devoted to this specific skill, I thought I’d break down my approach to teaching the writing of literary analysis. I’d really love to hear back from any teachers and students reading this post. Teachers, how do your approaches to teaching this task differ from my own? Students, what was the most effective learning experience you’ve had in relation to learning literary analysis? I’d love to hear from all of you, but I’ll start by sharing my own process.