Teaching with the Lecture Method (and not putting them to sleep!) Joanne Chesley, Ed.D.
Let’s consider the following: How much material should I prepare for a one hour lecture? Should I read my lecture notes / narrative? How should I begin and end a lecture?
How should I prepare for the lecture? Consider how many words will fit in the allotted time, then make space for variations in pacing, questions, answers, guided practice and repetition. So what might look like a possible 10 pages of singles spaced notes (read in 50 minutes), should be reduced to 3-5 pages to achieve greater effectiveness.
When preparing, remember: People do not have long attention spans when it comes to aural information. They tune out every 15 or 20 minutes. What can we do to ensure that they get the information? Place major points in lecture, 15 minutes apart. Limit major points to no more than 4 per 50 minute class period. Present information in small chunks, giving time for processing Use the in-between time to work with the concept just presented. This can be group work, games, use of clickers, video that illustrates the point, other. This is a good time for a stretch, to rejuvenate the brain and the nervous system.
When preparing remember: Good lectures use repetition effectively. A point can be made in an abstract, introductory way the first time, made more concrete and clarifying, via demonstration, when said the second time, and used to summarize when mentioned the third time. Change captures attention. Altering methods increases opportunities for understanding. Only one fourth of the students will be attentive at any given time
Think of your lecture as an essay Write an introduction that previews the framework and content of the lecture. Be sure to use transitions and show how the pieces connect Use a number of examples to illustrate the concepts and terms Be sure to have a good conclusion that will restate the major points
Let’s say you are lecturing on Leadership and Respect, you might show this piece which is surely worth a thousand words!
Am I supposed to read my lecture notes? Only when you are presenting at a conference and your time is very limited Never in the classroom! Lectures should convey your enthusiasm; reading will diminish that Reading prevents you from assessing students’ interest and understanding Reading prevents your ability to glean their constructions and reconstructions of the information
Effective lecturers gather feedback by: Asking specific factual questions (convergent) following chunks of lecture Asking divergent questions to determine if student s can apply the knowledge to existing knowledge or to possibilities Probing to determine students’ level of knowledge (surface, moderate, deep) Asking students to write brief summaries at end of each lecture, telling what they learned and how it applies to overall topic
How do I begin and end? Begin with a short review of the last lesson Connect to the new lesson with a short outline of what you will cover This allows their brains to begin the necessary processing, calling up related experiences and abilities, which will helps tremendously with capturing the new material Many teachers use what Madeline Hunter called an Anticipatory Set. This can be anything that gets their attention in an active or interactive manner.
Let’s say that one of your lesson objectives is to understand how fungi cause disease in humans. Before you discuss cutaneous and subcutaneous infections you could get a rise out of the students by showing them this!