When your teacher first announces a new English presentation assignment, your heart probably sinks. Not only do you now have to worry about weeks' worth of work, but you are also wondering what on Earth you will present about. Although different teachers have different requirements with regard to English presentation topics, there are some ways to calm your nerves and help you concentrate on coming up with ideas for the assignment.
When you've had to write papers for English in the past, you've probably had to use some kind of invention or pre-writing strategy to come up with the topic of your paper and what you have to say about it. According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab, one good way to start coming up with ideas is to think about your goal and audience for the piece and then to do some brainstorming or diagraming that will help you come up with support points. The same thing is true for an English presentation. Start by thinking about the goal and audience for the presentation. Then, simply begin jotting down ideas, outlining, clustering or using another method that prepares your mind to think deeply about the topic.
After you have done some pre-writing, it can be very difficult to choose the presentation topic that you would most like to present. However, you can make an informed decision by comparing each possible topic against the assignment's criteria. Because English Grammar Online notes that presentations should have some kind of graphic, choose a topic with which you will be able to use a visual aid. Further, consider the following questions: what topics will you be best able to address in the time allotment? Which best answers the question or prompt that your teacher gave you? Which topics are you most interested in and most likely to enjoy presenting about? Once you have narrowed your list down to two topics, meet with your teacher to get feedback.
In many English classes, teachers ask students to make presentations about literature. In some cases, the teacher simply wants you to tell others what happened in a book that you have read and that they probably have not. In this case, consider presenting a creative visual aid that shows how well you understood the book. For instance, you might make the movie poster for the forthcoming movie version of the book.
In other cases, everyone may be working on a project about the same novel. If you have to do an English class presentation on literature, consider presenting on the effectiveness of the literature or offering an original interpretation of its meaning or function.
In some English classes, you will be asked to present on language, grammar, communication or writing. For instance, you might be asked to complete a presentation that explains different kinds of narrative or a mini-lesson on semicolon uses. In this case, make sure you choose a topic that you understand well, as you will have trouble explaining it to others if you have fundamental misunderstandings. In this kind of presentation, your textbook or syllabus will give you a good idea of possible topics that are relevant to the course.