Each student presents a brief Oral Presentation (a 200-word excerpt of the student’s own essay) to a small group in tutorial as part of preparation for the essay’s submission the following week. Students who present and give feedback receive the full 5% which is a component of the essay assessment.
Students come to class with three copies of a 200-word excerpt from their own essays that are due for submission the following week. They are divided into groups of three. Each student has ten minutes to read their excerpt and receive constructive feedback on the work from the other two members in the group. After ten minutes, they move on to the next student and provide constructive feedback to the speaker.
A handout is given to the students to guide their discussions which can also list key elements of the criteria for the essay. In addition to questions about the genre, grammar, language and mechanics of the writing, other questions on the handout asked students to think about how their excerpt fit within the larger paper and what their three main points in the essay might be. A feedback sheet was given to the students at the end of the tutorial and they filled in their responses to a short list of questions asking how they felt about the experience, whether they received/contributed useful feedback, and how the process could be improved.
Students responded overwhelmingly positively to this experience. They commented on how relieved they were to present their ideas to a small group rather than to the entire class. They appreciated a handout to focus the discussion. They found it a helpful place to ask each other basic questions about the assignment without feeling shy or embarrassed. It helped the students get on top of the essay early and started their momentum towards completing and improving the assignment. Marking was minimal as participation in the experience equalled full marks. It helped students improve their work, gain confidence, and get organised for their upcoming assessment.