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Resources for Supporting SLE

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The notes below are for typical SLE presentations.  As usual, be sure to ask about details since some sections may structure the assignment differently.  OCTs can help SLE students in the same ways we help students with other kinds of presentations. We compiled this list because some OCTs were not familiar with SLE assignments and program details.

What are the assignment details? 

  • One 7-10 minute presentation, followed by facilitation of class discussion
  • Visual aids are optional or not allowed (depending on section)
  • Students present an argument based on a reading or collection of readings. Typically external research is not required.
  • Other students in the section have read the selections that the student will be referencing.
  • There are around 90 SLE students each year, and there are 6 or 7 sections of about 12-15 students.  SLE is a residential program integrating humanities, classics (literature, philosophy, and the arts) and writing instruction.

When are presentations due?

  • Throughout Spring quarter as students present each week
  • Because students complete the reading during the week before the presentation, SLE students will almost always come to OCTs within 1-2 days of their presentation.

What is the presentation environment?

  • All SLE lectures, discussion sessions, and events take place in the residence (East Florence Moore Hall), so the atmosphere is casual.  Many students stand to present but some may also present seated.  The presentation style is typically informal and conversational.

In what ways can OCTs best help with SLE presentations?


  • What is the main thesis? 
  • Is it descriptive or arguable? 
  • How does it fit with the text as a whole? How do points fit together?


  • Introduction:  Since the presentations are casual, some students may not feel like they need to craft a formal, attention-getting introduction. 
  • Main body of presentation: evidence for argument, importance of verbal signposts & transitions
  • Conclusion:  Summary of argument & opening discussion with the rest of the section

How to integrate quotes 

  • Where to paraphrase vs. where to quote
  • How to read a quote aloud (vocal variety & using pauses)
  • How to shorten a quote to the most important part

Difference between written and spoken

  • In SLE, students write a lot of papers so some students may be inclined to script their presentations in the style of essays.  Try exercises for conversational language & shorter sentences. Often it’s helpful to confirm that repetition is okay and important in spoken communication.

Promoting discussion

  • Kinds of questions:  relational, cause & effect, hypothetical, connecting text to broader themes and issues.  Have a question with many possible answers. Avoid questions that are yes/no, either/or.  Sometimes, it might work to ask an open-ended question, then include “I think [one opinion] -  would you agree or do you have other ideas?”
  • Ways to get everyone involved:
    • Restate questions
    • If someone has talked awhile and others haven’t had a chance to speak, the speaker could try interrupting with praise: “[Student Name] raises a good point – what does everyone think about that?”


  • Use the OCT evaluation sheets to comment on general delivery.  Encourage videotaping so the student can see their own non-verbal behavior.  In some cases, the SLE instructor may look over the OCT evaluation sheet with the student at a later meeting, so it’s helpful to fill it out and give it to the student at the end of the session.

Printable OCT Evaluation Form 1

Printable OCT Evaluation Form 2