This presentation has a variety of general suggestions for classroom presentations. All images in the presentation are linked, some to sources that can be investigated further and some simply to the site where the image was obtained. There are also text links to other sources. Teachers mature in their presentation styles over time. It’s not possible to get there in one fell swoop. The idea behind this presentation is to offer up a variety of suggestions, where the instructor might try one or two of them in any one implementation . Then return to the presentation later to try some of the other suggestions.
The quote seems so straightforward and offers an admonishment to teach from example to theory, not vice versa. Yet so many of us instructors were trained as theorists and consider our own disciplines as theory first. Taking this recommendation may very well cut against our own intuition about what we teach. Yet our own intuition is not primary. The motivation and prior knowledge of the student comes first. That’s what the quote refers to.
The first slide of a presentation that is worth going through. Several interesting and straightforward suggestions are given for making a presentation memorable.
A book by the same authors who did the slideshow linked on the previous slide. They go into some depth on why we remember some things and forget much else that is presented to us. They make clear that the presenter’s job is to help the audience make connections to the topic, so the presenter’s goal is not just or even mostly about topic coverage. It is mainly about building connections.
Lawrence Lessig is known for his legal scholarship and, in addition, for his style of presentation, a particular way to make his ideas sticky. He has lots of slides per presentation. Each slide is shown quickly. Often a slide features an image or a single word. You can embrace or reject Lessig’s approach as you see fit. It is useful to see his approach either way, as it can offer a model to emulate or a contrast with other alternatives.
Dedicated teachers inspire their students. Thepicture is of Robert Donat in the 1939 version of Goodbye Mr. Chips.
The picture conveys that the students are eager beavers to answer the questions posed by the instructor. Managing eager beavers can present a challenge. But it is a challenge most instructors are up to. It is harder when the students are shy and reluctant to express themselves in class. Then the instructor must take steps to draw these students out. For more information on how to deal with shy students see http://tep.uoregon.edu/resources/faqs/presenting/shystudents.html.
During Q&A students should be looking at the instructor, not at the screen. Likewise the instructor should be facing the class, not the screen. Making the screen blank can facilitate the back and forth. Fundamentally, the students need to know that the instructor cares about what they are saying and is interested in their questions, comments, and issues. The instructor must demonstrate a willingness to listen.
Too fast, too slow, or just right? How does a presenter know? One tip can be found in asking about what the students in the audience should be doing during the presentation. Because clicking on a slide is such an easy thing to do and because the instructor likely knows the subject matter inside out, there is a tendency for the instructor to go too fast. In this case the instructor must look for ways to slow down.
Particularly if the course content is technical, but in many other cases as well, the instructor may want students to take extensive notes. Note taking is time consuming. If the instructor goes too fast, even the best note takers won’t be able to keep up. Some instructors handwrite out part or all of their presentation during the session so they don’t race ahead of their students.
The picture is of an updated version of a candy bar popular when we were kids. The motto then was, “open wide for Chunky.” It is a useful way to remember that presentations should be broken up into segments, chunks if you will, with varying activities in between. The is partly to keep the audience engaged. Student attention span is limited. See http://teaching.berkeley.edu/bgd/largelecture.html. This is also partly to allow the students to drive some of the time. Listening and taking notes is often viewed as a passive behavior. Chunking enables the students to be more active.
Think Pair Share is a particularly straightforward way to get some active learning going in the classroom.