Duties for Session Chairs - National Council of Teachers of English

Duties for Session Chairs

Thank you for your willingness to chair a session at the 2017 NCTE Annual Convention! The session chair’s role is an important one to ensuring that the Convention runs smoothly.

If you have not done so already, please log into the NCTE proposal system and accept your invitations to chair a session. You will also need to register for Convention by August 31, 2017, in order to be included in the print program.


Before the Convention:

Contact the presenters in your assigned session and introduce yourself. You can access contact information by logging into the program submission system.

Request outlines or papers and other presentational material from panelists so you can familiarize yourself with the presentations included on your panel prior to the Convention. Use this information to help develop introductions, transitions, and possible questions to use during the session.

Advise all presenters on the amount of time they will have to present. You will want to divide the time equally among the proposals included in the session. Some proposals might have multiple speakers, but plan speaking time on the number of proposals, not the number of speakers. Please also allow a minimum of 15 minutes for discussion at the end.

Encourage your panelists to make their materials available online prior to the Convention. (Instructions for posting materials online will be available in the coming months.)

During the Session:

Arrive early and connect with all panelists: confirm speaker order, double check pronunciation of names and introduction information, and review how the session will run. Determine how time signals will be given and how time limits will be handled.

Introduce the session. Provide the overall session title and, if needed, a brief overview of session (e.g., the presentation order or the common topic or theme connecting all presentations). Name all presenters at the beginning of the session, but wait until it’s the presenter’s turn to speak before giving a full individual introduction. Remind audience members to hold their questions until the end to ensure all presenters get the full speaking time they were allotted and prepared for.

Introduce each speaker, including affiliation/title and the title of the presentation. As needed, assist with distribution of presenters’ print materials during the session.

Keep time during the session. Please allow a minimum of 15 minutes (and ideally more) at the end of the session for Q & A and discussion.

If relevant, provide some closing remarks that will help initiate discussion during the Q & A period. Ideally, be prepared with a question or observation about each presenter’s work to ensure all presenters have a chance to participate in the post-presentation discussion.

Moderate the discussion: repeat audience members’ questions so the whole room can hear them; direct questions to the appropriate presenter(s); try to balance participation among audience members and presenters to the extent possible; and keep the discussion flowing.

When the session time is over, stop discussion and thank presenters. Encourage presenters and audience members to continue conversations outside the session room to allow the next group of presenters ample time to set up.


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