Style and Substance: Preparing Seniors for Their Thesis Defense

Jason Merritt examines simple but important steps to take in the grammar/lower school, subsequent and more specific instruction offered in the rhetoric/upper school prior to the senior year, and final preparations for a well-delivered thesis presentation and defense.

Many classical Christian schools rightly expect their seniors to prepare, present, and defend thoughtful, clearly written, and well-argued senior theses. We do a great deal over the course of their education to prepare them intellectually for the written aspect of this task, but what do we do to prepare them for the public presentation and defense? Like the written component, the groundwork for the presentation and defense should be laid early so that students can develop and refine their presentation skills over the length of their school career, culminating in a confident presentation and defense in which the substance of their argument is complemented and enhanced by the style of their presentation. This workshop will examine simple but important steps to take in the grammar/lower school, subsequent and more specific instruction offered in the rhetoric/upper school prior to the senior year, and final preparations for a well-delivered thesis presentation and defense.

Jason Merritt

Dr. Jason Merritt is instructor of Classical Greek and the Senior Thesis Director at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth. He has been an educator for 15 years, 10 of those being spent in classical Christian education. He has served as the headmaster of a classical Christian school, an instructor of Greek and Religion at Texas Christian University, and as a translation consultant for Bible League International on translations of the Bible into Haitian Creole, Swahili, Japanese, and Croatian.

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