Kudos Thoughts on Teaching Presentations

Being Better

April 22nd, 2008 jcarterw

I second Ginny’s apprehension when teaching her peers and her comfort when teaching children. Though I battle anxiety when presenting in front of my colleagues, I feel I have learned how to mask my fear fairly well. However, when I speak, I still feel that I lack the fluidity of thought that I have in my writing. I have always felt that I can better express myself in writing than in any other form.

My main criticism of my presentation was that I wanted to communicate the “sense” behind what critics and readers of Lewis Carroll refer to as “nonsense” poetry, but I’m not sure if I did. Though the time restrictions inhibited me from an in-depth analysis of “Jabberwocky,” I tried to show, instead of tell, how “nonsense” could make sense. I do not feel that the text required background knowledge of Carroll’s coinages, and I tried to make this evident through the first exercise (writing a stanza with the eleven coined words in the first stanza of “Jabberwocky”). The stanzas that the class created seemed to follow the form that Carroll had anticipated—with the “nonsense” parts of speech fitting into their correct syntactical places. I wondered whether Carroll’s theory would prove true. It seems, for some classmates at least, that it did.

Also, if I would have thought my presentation out a bit more thoroughly—impossible being the procrastinator that I am—I would not have supplied the class with a copy of “Jabberwocky” the week before my presentation. I think that my activities would have worked better had I provided only the first stanza of “Jabberwocky” for the first two exercises, or better yet, perhaps I should have provided only the eleven “nonsense” coinages.

As a sixth-year teacher, I have found reflecting on my lessons helps tremendously when planning for future lessons or improving upon old lessons. I suggest that anyone (myself included) who feels that they could have taught better should remember the purpose of self-reflection—to better oneself for future endeavors.

Entry Filed under: Teaching Presentations

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Edith  |  April 22nd, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Yours was a very interesting lesson. I have used Jabberwocky in my grammar classes but never thought about it as a way to ease the worry over poetry.

    It might be a good idea to not give out the entire poem (because it makes "sense"). My first reaction to your suggestion to only give the coinages was that we need the first stanza to see how the words are used. That is how I arrived at an idea of what part of speech so I knew how to use the word in my poem. But I think that is exactly your point. It was this misunderstanding that kept me from completing the first exercise. I was attempting to use nouns and verb, not just words. So maybe only the coinages would work.


  • 2. tlarson  |  April 23rd, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Yeah, I think giving just the coinages would help. I hadn’t eaten in 2 days, so my brain was not up to par, but I also did not complete the first exercise because I was trying to figure out how the words were used in the poem.

    Overall, I enjoyed the lesson and how you showed that Carroll is showing how to interpret/determine the meaning and then setting the reader free to figure some of the coinages out on her own.

  • 3. LauraHills  |  April 23rd, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I am preparing my teaching demo right now and am wondering, too, if it would have been better NOT to assign the reading of the work in preparation for the class. If students read and interact with the text on their own first, I won’t have the same pre-reading activities at my disposal as I would if the text is presented in class. Students who have pre-read will come to the lesson with their own ideas already in place — a good thing in some cases but not in all cases.

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ENGL 610:002 // Spring 2008

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