Guidelines for first in-class presentation

Guidelines for second set of presentations

The second set of presentations differs from the first set on two main levels: there is no written component and there is a required research component.

Because there is no written component, your presentation should be all the more clear for grading purposes. Your main points should be emphasized and your logical connections and general train of thought should be easy to follow. You will want to make sure you do not speak too quickly or too quietly.

The research component involves summarizing and responding to the assigned academic essay. You should have a solid understanding of the essay, including what it has to offer to the academic study of the Canterbury Tales. Your presentation should briefly summarize the main argument(s) of the essay, especially as it relates to your assigned prologue/tale. Your presentation should also respond to the essay. This may involve some criticism of the essay's argument(s), but should ideally involve building upon the argument(s). You should take what is said in the essay and offer an extension, an alternate perspective, or perhaps a new application of the theories and/or methodologies.

You are expected to develop your own theory (or theories) about your assigned prologue/tale, and this theory should be influenced by the assigned academic article. You are engaging in an academic, critical discussion about the Canterbury Tales, and the assigned essay is the means by which you engage in this discussion.

Your focus should be on the assigned reading for that day, but you are free to discuss in addition any of the prologues and tale that we have read up to that point.

Your presentation should last between fifteen and twenty minutes.


Guidelines for first set of presentations

In-class presentations should be about fifteen minutes in length. You risk being cut short if you go significantly past fifteen minutes (i.e., past twenty minutes).

Ideally, you will talk or lecture to the class (usually, using notes you have prepared for yourself). If you are not comfortable with this, you may read out your presentation to the class. A presentation that is read out should be about six pages in length (typewritten, double-spaced), assuming you don't read too quickly or too slowly.

An in-class presentation, whether read from a paper or not, is less formal than a term paper. You should ideally have a thesis, but the thesis can be more broad than one for a term paper. Your presentation should have a structure, but the structure does not have to be as rigorous as with a term paper. You should keep in mind that it is always more difficult for your audience to follow your train of thought when listening to you than it would be when reading something you have written: this is even true when you read out a clearly-planned, easy to follow paper.

Remember that we, your audience, will want to enjoy listening to you. You do not have to be funny or put on a show, but you should be able to keep our attention for the duration of your presentation.

You will probably want to explain the selection of the Canterbury Tales you are presenting on to the class. You could go over it briefly on a basic level, but then focus most of your presentation on a more in-depth coverage of the reading. You will not be able to say everything there is to say about the reading: you should choose one or two (or three) themes, topics, or approaches to the reading and present these themes/topics/approaches to the class. For instance, you could approach your reading through an analysis of the metaphorical language of the passage. You could choose one or two of the pre-identified course themes (class, gender, sexuality, love, religion, identity, and physiognomy) and treat these themes or perhaps a different theme as it appears in your passage.

Another approach would be a research-centred presentation. This would entail surveying the standard and the recent critical statements about the reading for your presentation. You would then present to the class the results of your research, trying to explain to us the critical debates surrounding your reading.

Your presentation should have a thesis -- at least, a preliminary thesis. You should formulate a theory or a critical position about your selection and defend that theory or position to us.

All presentations need to use the Middle English version of the text. You may refer to translations (modernisations) if such a reference will help you make a point related to your thesis. It would be great if your presentation included some treatment of the language and/or poetry of your selection.

This presentation requires a written component: you must hand in a written version of your presentation one week after you present. The written version can and usually should be a revised version of your presentation: your revisions will usually be a result of reactions to your presentation. The written essay should be no less than four and no more than six pages in length. It should be a well-structured, well-argued essay. It is a chance to perfect your argument and make your exposition clearer and more precise. Avoid making reference to class discussion with phrases such as, "As said in class."