A common experience among new teachers is learning how to lecture. Lecturing is a skill, a strategy, and a practice. As a skill, lecturing is learned over time.. Lecturing is a strategy teachers use when they want to efficiently cover a great deal of content. In addition, it is a practice that has shared meanings, practical knowledge, and language
The lecture method is the most widely used form of presentation. Lectures are used for introduction of new subjects, summarizing ideas, showing relationships between theory and practice, and reemphasizing main points.
Lecturing is probably the most widely used formal educational method in the world, Bligh defines lecturing as “more or less continuous exposition[s] by a speaker who wants the audience to learn something The “lecture” has its etymological roots in the Latin participle lectus (to read), it has been suggested that the academic lecture developed prior to the printing press as “the only way that the knowledge stored in books could be transmitted to a large number of students.”
Accordingly the lecture was established formally centuries ago as a teaching process that began with a literal reading of important passages from the text by the master, followed by the master’s interpretation of the text. Students were expected to sit, listen and take notes. The lecture is the formal presentation of content by the educator (as subject matter expert) for the subsequent learning. Ruyle (1995) describes the lecture simply as an oral pre-sanitation of instructional material
It is oldest teaching method given by philosophy of idealism. As used in education, the lecture method refers to the teaching procedure involved in clarification or explanation of the students of some major idea. This method lays emphasis on the penetration of contents. Teacher is more active and students are passive but he also uses question answers to keep them attentive in the class. It is used to motivate, clarify, expand and review the information.
The lecture is defined as the method of instruction in which the instructor has full responsibility for presenting facts and principles orally It is an oral presentation of information by the teacher . It is the method of relaying factual information which includes principles, concepts, ideas and all THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE about a given topic. In a lecture the teacher tells, explains, describes or relates whatever information the students are required to learn through listening and understanding. It is therefore teacher-centered. The teacher is very active, doing all the talking. Students on the other hand are very inactive, doing all the listening.
The lecture in its many forms is the most commonly used method for transferring information in education. There are, however, serious questions regarding the effectiveness of the traditional lecture approach. There presently are many calls to move away from the traditional lecture to interactive computer learning systems that allow students access to information when and where they need it While this shift to “just in time” information provided by computer is occurring, there is, and will continue to be, a need for educators who are prepared to deliver lectures Majority of college classrooms use some form of the lecture method to teach their students Although the usefulness of other teaching strategies is being widely examined today, the lecture still remains an important way to communicate information.
The lecture method of instruction is recommended for trainees with very little knowledge or limited background knowledge on the topic. It is also useful for presenting an organized body of new information to the learner. To be effective in promoting learning, the lecture must involve some discussions and, question and answer period to allow trainees to be involved actively.
A lecture can be used to provide a broad-brush overview or introduction of a topic, particularly where the educational goal is for the learner to acquire a background familiarity with the subject, as opposed to a working knowledge. For learners who have a general knowledge of a topic, a lecture can provide an explication of the material, a cognitive framework for organizing the material, or a re-structuring of the material to make it more relevant to the situation at hand The primary purpose of the lecture is to transfer information from the teacher to the student. Before developing the content of the lecture, it is a good idea to clearly state the purpose of the lecture
Effective presenters provide roadmaps for their speech. They design and present lectures that are well-organized and easy to follow. There’s an “attention grabber” for the opening, a preview of what is ahead and three or four chunks of information that make-up the body of the presentation, and a closing that summarizes important content, information and key messages
Structure your lectures to help students retain the most important material. . Plan your classes so that the main points come at a time when students are most attentive. Structure them to include: Attention-getting introduction Brief overview of main points to be covered Quick statement of background or context Detailed explanation of no more than three major points, the most important first, with a change of pace every ten or fifteen minute Concluding summary of main points to reinforce key themes
Structure the lecture to suit your audience and the subject matter. Consider the difficulty of the material and students’ level of ability as you make decisions about the amount of information to cover, the amount of detail, and the number of examples you present. Structure the lecture to suit your students and the subject matter. Consider the difficulty of the material and students’ level of ability and the entering behavior as you make decisions about the amount of information to cover, Unfamiliar technical words should be introduced cautiously. New terminologies should be defined and explained and examples given
Focus the message. In the words of Howard Gardner (2000), “In a lecture, less is more.” It is very easy to present too much information, which quickly saturates students, causing them to drop into a passive-listening role. They may understand what is being said, but they are not retaining it. In fact, some research suggests that students can only remember five to nine major points from a lecture.
Structure your lectures to help students retain the most important material. . Identify what you most want your students to remember about the topic.Prepare a one-page sketch of the lecture Structure the lecture in outline form and flesh it out with examples and illustrations; identify your key points Specify the main topic or topics. Free associate words, facts, ideas, and questions as they come to you. State a working title Research shows that students’ retention is greatest at the beginning of a fifty-minute class, decreases to low levels as the period wears on, and then increases slightly in anticipation of the end (Ericksen, 1978). Plan your classes so that the main points come at a time when students are most attentive.
Provide a logical progression for the material. Provide a logical progression for the material. Some lectures lend themselves to a chronological or sequential approach. At other times, you can move from the general principle to specific instances, build up from the parts to the whole, trace one idea across time or space, describe a problem and then illustrate its solution, Decide what content to cover Organize the topics in a meaningful sequence. Like :Topical ,Causal ,Sequential, Symbolic or graphic, Problem-solution
Some lectures lend themselves to a chronological or sequential approach. At other times, you can move from the general principle to specific instances, build up from the parts to the whole, trace one idea across time or space, describe a problem and then illustrate its solution, or announce your thesis and then step back to provide evidence for your argument.
Design your lectures in ten- or fifteen-minutes blocks. Each block should cover a single point with examples and end with a brief summary and transition to the next section. If you find yourself running out of time, cut an entire block or shorten the middle section of a block rather than rush the summary.
Budget time for questions. Whether or not you formally open the floor for questions, leave time for students to ask you to repeat material or to supply additional explanations. Some faculty ask for students’ questions at the beginning of class and list these on the board to be answered during the hour
Begin and end with a summary statement. Continuity and closure are important: students need to see how each new topic relates to what they have already learned as well as to what they will be learning in the coming weeks. To bring your points home, use different words and examples in your opening and closing summaries.
Experiment with different formats for your lecture notes. Some formats are more suited to certain subjects and disciplines than others for example An outline is especially useful in organizing a talk and providing an overview of the general structure of subordinate points and transitions.A list of major points is closer to extemporaneous speech than a detailed outline; this format is appropriate for a speaker who knows the material well. A tree diagram (such as a flowchart or network) provides a system of pathways through important points with optional stopovers, tangents, useful illustrations, or examples.
Prepare your notes to aid your delivery. If you are writing an outline of key words or phrases, 5″ x 8″ index cards are easier to use than smaller cards or sheets of paper. Color code your notes to highlight difficult points, distinctions between major examples, and important information. Include notations that indicate times to pause, ask questions, raise your voice, and so on. Write in the margin, “Put this on the board” or “Have students jot down a response at their seats” or Examples boxed in red could mean “Include this if students seem uncertain about my point.” . Notes can be prepared as prompts or reminders of key points, but they must be legible at the distance and under the lighting conditions under which the lecture will be given
Write down vivid examples. facts and formulas for easy reference. Within the body of your lecture notes or on a separate sheet of paper, copy out all the key facts, quotations, computations, or complex analyses. Clear, straightforward, memorable examples reinforce the points you are trying to make. Experienced faculty recommend that you give special attention to preparing examples, illustrations, and demonstrations – more than you might need, to be able to respond to students’ confusions or questions Research shows that an important characteristic of an effective teacher is the ability to take difficult concepts and transform them in ways that students can understand, through the use of metaphors, analogies, and examples
Use notes wisely Notes used wisely can ensure accuracy, jog the memory, and dispel the fear of forgetting. They are essential for reporting complicated information. For an instructor who tends to ramble, notes are a must because they help keep the lecture on track. The instructor who requires notes should use them sparingly and unobtrusively, but at the same time should make no effort to hide them from the students. Notes may be written legibly or typed, and they should be placed where they can be consulted easily, or held, if the instructor walks about the room.
Prepare your lecture for the ear, not the eye. Oral presentations are very different from written presentations. When students are listening to you speak, they cannot go back and “reread” a troublesome sentence or look up a difficult word in the dictionary.
Rehearse your lecture Carefully prepare your lectures. Thorough preparation can prevent last-minute headaches.. After completing the preliminary planning and writing of the lesson plan, the instructor should rehearse the lecture to build self-confidence. Rehearsals, or dry runs, help smooth out the mechanics of using notes, visual aids, and other instructional devices. If possible, the instructor should have another knowledgeable person, preferably another instructor, observe the practice sessions and act as a critic. This critique will help the instructor judge the adequacy of supporting materials and visual aids, as well as the presentation
A run-through will give you a sense of how comfortable you are with the material and the length of your presentation. To save time, practice only the most difficult sections, the opening and the ending.
Minimize nervousness. A certain amount of nervousness is normal, especially right before you begin to speak. To relax yourself, take deep breaths before you begin or tighten and then release the muscles of your body from your toes to your jaw Once you are under way your nervousness will lessen. Avoid eating a big meal before the lecture. Not only will a full stomach make you drowsy, but it makes it more difficult to move around the room with energy.
• Arrive early to make sure that everything is ready before the first student arrives.
• Make sure all of the media equipment is working.
• Locate and check the lighting and temperature controls.
• Decide where the lecture notes will be placed (e.g., on a lectern, desk, table) when they are not being held.
• Have a glass of water available during the lecture.
• . Look over your lecture notes one last time.
Visit the classroom before the first meeting The size and shape of the lecture room also influence the design and delivery of the lecture.
Notice the instructor’s area, placement of light switches, chalkboards, and other details. Make arrangements for whatever instructional equipment you will need: overhead projector, microphone, slide projector. When you visit the classroom, stand where you will lecture, practice using the equipment, and write on the board. Check whether your board work can be seen from the back of the room
• A room with tables arranged in a U-shape and chairs for 20 students is an ideal format for small group lectures. It allows the presenter to interact extensively with the students and use a variety of small group methods and media.
• A large room with 100 chairs arranged theater-style with an aisle down the middle makes it possible for the lecturer to move up and down the aisle to interact with students. The lecturer can ask students to turn their chairs around to form small groups for discussion.
• A lecture hall with a sloped floor and 200 seats firmly anchored in place makes it difficult to divide students into small groups. In this situation, one of the few alternatives is to ask students to turn to their neighbor to discuss a question, react to a slide or solve a problem being shown on the projection screen.
The final logistical consideration is the media equipment available. Most lecture halls are designed to accommodate-date the use of slides, overhead transparencies, video and computer-based projections. In order to develop an effective lecture, the educator must design and use a variety of media effectively
Technology-Enhanced Classrooms. Many classrooms are equipped with technology that will help you add other dimensions to your lecture (TECs) allow you to use computer consoles, DVD/VHS players, personal response systems, wireless microphones, and other technologies to enhance your teaching. You can display your teaching files (PowerPoint, sound files, images), and your course site or other websites on an LCD projector. Using the “T: Drive” from your home or office allows you to access your files without carrying around a disk or laptop. You need only create (or renew) your TEC account and reserve one of the many TECs available across campus to use this resource. Remember to practice with the technology prior to your class meeting and be sure to arrive early enough to get the equipment up and running before class starts. Along these lines of minimizing other distractions, the lecturer should be familiar with the classroom, know how to use any audio-visual support technology, and have a backup plan in case of equipment failures
Delivering a Lecture
Lecturing is not simply a matter of standing in front of a class and reciting what you know The classroom lecture is a special form of communication in which voice, gesture, movement, facial expression, and eye contact can either complement or detract from the content. No matter what your topic, your delivery and manner of speaking immeasurably influence your students’ attentiveness and learning
Lectures may include several different types of delivery. However, depending on the requirements of any particular circumstances, a lecture is usually delivered in one of four ways: Reading from a typed or written manuscript, Reciting memorized material without the aid of a manuscript, Speaking extemporaneously from an outline, and Speaking impromptu without preparation.
The teaching lecture is probably best delivered in an extemporaneous manner. The instructor speaks from a mental or written outline, but does not read or memorize the material to be presented. Because the exact words to express an idea are spontaneous, the lecture is more personalized than one that is read or spoken from memory.
Learn how not to read your lectures. At its best, lecturing resembles a natural, spontaneous conversation between instructor and student, with each student feeling as though the instructor is speaking to an audience of one. If you read your lectures, however, there will be no dialogue and the lecture will seem formal, stilted, and distant.
Avoid a “cold start.” Go to class a little early and talk informally with students. Or walk in the door with students and engage them in conversation. Using your voice informally before you begin to lecture helps keep your tone conversational. . Make the presentation appear to be interactive, engaging and a discussion. Provide individual reflection/think time, encourage pairing-up with another participants to exchange ideas and then share perceptions with larger audience Ask rhetorical questions Survey the audience with powerful trigger questions Provide a partial outline of the lecture to help align audience thinking and tracking the presentation Feed forward structuring message; Grab students’ attention with your opening. Open with a provocative question, startling statement, unusual analogy, striking example, personal anecdote, dramatic contrast, powerful quote, short questionnaire, demonstration, or mention of a recent news event. Any dramatic technique loses impact upon repetition. So Vary your opening
Begin by writing out the main theme and why students should learn about it. Identify what you most want your students to remember about the topic. It is better to teach two or three major points well than to inundate students with information they are unlikely to rememberAnnounce the objectives for the class. Tell your students what you expect to accomplish during the class, or list your objectives on the board. Place the day’s lecture in context by linking it to material from earlier session. The purpose should describe in general terms what the students will learn during the lecture. It usually is not written in measurable terms. By contrast, an objective is a precise and measurable statement describing what the student will learn by attending the lecture. Depending on the design of the lecture, there may be a purpose, objective or both. In some situations the objective will also describe the criteria students must meet in order to demonstrate they have learned the content
Avoid lecturing verbatim from a script. If you simply read from a prepared text, you will find yourself disengaged from the material and your students will feel disengaged as well Moreover, reading prevents you from maintaining eye contact with students, and it casts your voice down toward your notes instead of up and out toward the lecture hall. Writing out lectures is also extremely time-consuming. If you do feel the need to write out your lectures, reduce the completed text to a brief outline of key words and phrases. Lecture from this outline – you will naturally produce sentences more for the ear than for the eye, thereby making it easier for students to grasp the material.
During class, think about and watch your audience-your students. Focus on your students as if you were talking to a small group. One-on-one eye contact will increase students’ attentiveness and help you observe their facial expressions and physical movements for signs that you are speaking too slowly or too quickly, or need to provide another example. A common mistake lecturers make is to become so absorbed in the material that they fail to notice whether students are paying attention.
Since the instructor talks directly to the students, their reactions can be readily observed, and adjustments can be made based on their responses. The instructor has better control of the situation, can change the approach to meet any contingency, and can tailor each idea to suit the responses of the students. For example, if the instructor realizes from puzzled expressions that a number of students fail to grasp an idea, that point can be elaborated on until the reactions of the students indicate they understand. The extemporaneous presentation reflects the instructor’s personal enthusiasm and is more flexible than other methods. For these reasons, it is likely to hold the interest of the students.
Vary your delivery to keep students’ attention. Keeping students’ attention is among the most important facets of helping them To extend students’ attention spans Ask questions at strategic points or ask for comments or opinions about the subject. Play devil’s advocate or invite students to challenge your point of view Have students solve a problem individually, or have them break into pairs or small four-person groups to answer a question or discuss a topic.Introduce visual aids: slides, charts, graphs, videotapes, and films.
Make the organization of your lecture explicit. Put an outline on the board before you begin, outline the development of ideas as they occur, or give students a handout of your major points or topics. Outlines help students focus on the progression of the material and also help them take better notes. If their attention does wander, students can more readily catch up with the lecture if they have an outline in front of them• Tell them what you are going to tell them establishes an expectation of what is coming next, and allows the learner to get into the proper frame of mind. One way to do this is to remind the students of the learning •
Convey your own enthusiasm for the material. Think back to what inspired you as an undergraduate or to the reasons you entered the field you are in. Even if you have little interest in a particular topic, try to come up with a new way of looking at it and do what you can to stimulate students’ enthusiasm. If you appear bored with the topic, students will quickly lose interest.
Be conversational. Use conversational inflections and tones, varying your pitch just as you do in ordinary conversation. If you focus on the meaning of what you are saying, you’ll instinctively become more expressive. Choose informal language, and try to be natural and direct. Establish rapport with your students. Warmth and rapport have a positive effect on any audience. Students will feel more engaged in the class if the opening minutes are personal, direct, and conversational.
Use verbal support Besides the obvious requirements of voice, platform mannerisms, sincerity, eye contact, and other communicative skills, the lecture, because of its unique instructor responsibilities, requires skillful choice of support material. The strength or weakness of your lesson depends on your teaching effectiveness. There are a number of techniques you can use to increase your effectiveness. The following types of verbal support will make the lesson more interesting and understandable.
A comparison is used to bridge the known and the unknown clarify a new subject idea, or situation by showing how it resembles a familiar subject. Comparison may be factual or imaginary. An example of an imaginary comparison is called an analogy. An analogy uses a story or incident with a point that parallels the point that the communicator wants to make. The analogy does not prove a point, but helps to dramatize it.
Use Statistics and Testimonies Statistics and Testimonies can be used to clarify or amplify a point, but must be used sparingly and wisely. They should be in terms that are easily understood, and unless there is good reason for giving exact statistical figures, round numbers should be used. Honesty with a statistic is essential.Testimonies can give the trainee an example of a real life situation. The testimony can relate trainees’ thoughts or ideas with what actually happened with the instructor.
Story Telling. Your experience or others experience related by means of a story is a form of evidence because it gives the listener tangible evidence and illustrates the viewpoint of the speaker. The communicator’s personal self-disclosure and involvement through stories brings the evidence to life; first-person life. Story telling helps make your presentation believable and conveys your human side. Incorporate anecdotes and stories into your lecture. When you are in a storytelling mode, your voice becomes conversational and your face more expressive, and students tend to listen more closely. Use anecdotes to illustrate your key points.
Maintain eye contact with the class. Look directly at your students one at a time to give them a sense that you are speaking to each individual. Look at a student for three to five seconds – a longer glance will make most students uncomfortable. Beware of aimless scanning or swinging your head back and forth. Mentally divide the lecture hall into three to five sections, and address comments, questions, and eye contact to each section during the course of your lecture, beginning in the center rear of the room. Pick out friendly faces, but also try to include no listeners. However, don’t waste your time trying to win over the uninterested; concentrate on the attentive. If real eye contact upsets your concentration, look between two students or look at foreheads.
Use Suitable Language In the teaching lecture, simple rather than complex words should be used whenever possible. Picturesque slang and free-and-easy colloquialisms, if they suit the subject, can add variety and vividness to a teaching lecture. The teacher should not, however, use substandard English. Errors in grammar and vulgarisms detract from an instructor’s dignity and reflect upon the intelligence of the students.
If the subject matter includes technical terms, the instructor should clearly define each one so that no student is in doubt about its meaning. Whenever possible, the instructor should use specific rather than general words.
Another way the instructor can add life to the lecture is to vary his or her tone of voice and pace of speaking. In addition, using sentences of different length helps, since consistent use of short sentences results in a choppy style. Unless long sentences are carefully constructed, they are difficult to follow and can easily become tangled. To ensure clarity and variety, the instructor should normally use sentences of short and medium length.
Use concrete, simple, colorful language. Use first-person and second-person pronouns (I, we, you). Choose dramatic adjectives, for example, “vital point” rather than “main point” or “provocative issue” rather than “next issue.” Eliminate jargon, empty words, and unnecessary qualifiers (“little bit,” “sort of,” “kind of”).. Communicate in audience language. Often presenters out of habit, comfort and sometimes to demonstrate their expertise use professional jargon and lose the audience. Do not assume that listeners understand complex technical language. If you need to use technical language, provide definitions or a glossary handout to facilitate communication. In order to facilitate impact and effectiveness of presentations it is important to keep your language clear, concise and compelling. Remember your goal is to connect with the audience and impart information and ideas listeners can use to their benefit.
Use the make me feel important (MMFI) rule to find unique ways to connect with the audience. Create a psychological safe climate; build closeness and openness by using people’s names, nodding your head, looking people in the eye with one thought rather than scanning the room. Laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. If you mispronounce a word or drop your notes, your ability to see the humor of the situation will put everyone at ease. Don’t let your confidence be shaken by minor mistakes.
Vary the pace at which you speak. Students need time to assimilate new information and to take notes, but if you speak too slowly, they may become bored. Try to vary the pace to suit your own style, your message, and your audience. For example, deliver important points more deliberately than anecdotal examples. If you tend to speak quickly, try to repeat your major points so that students can absorb them. Vary your voice. Consider the pitch, volume, duration of words, intonation, and the intensity of your voice. Experiment with vocal techniques by reading aloud describes a series of voice exercises to improve projection, articulation, and tonal quality
Loudness Too soft and the audience cannot hear you. Too loud and they will not want to. Of the two, too loud is preferable, but somewhere in the middle is “just right.”Rate Speaking too fast does not give students time to digest what is being said. Too slow puts them to sleep. Research has shown that students attribute more intelligence to someone who talks at a more rapid pace; yet, it does not say how much they learn.
Intonation , Intonation is the range of your voice. Some speakers are monotone, which tends to be boring. On the other hand, some speakers are too histrionic, which tends to become tiresome, e.g., a Bob Barker voice. A natural speaking voice with a good range of inflection works best. Stress and inflection are related to intonation but they are not the same. Stress is how you emphasize an important point or issue, which can be applied by slowing speech, stopping, spelling a word out, repeating a phrase. Use stress to highlight important detail, but used too much, it becomes tiresome.
Project your voice or use a microphone. Ask students whether they can hear you, or have a graduate student instructor sit in the back corner to monitor the clarity and volume of your speaking voice. Try not to let the volume of your voice drop at the ends of sentences. When using a microphone, speak in a normal voice and do not lean into the microphone.
Pause. The pause is one of the most critical tools of public speaking. It is an important device for gaining attention. Pauses can be used as punctuation -to mark a thought, sentence, or paragraph – and also for emphasis, before or after a key concept or idea. If you suddenly stop in midsentence, students will look up from their notes to see what happened. Planned pauses also give you and your audience a short rest. Some faculty take a sip of coffee or water after they say something they want students to stop and think about. Other faculty deliberately pause, announce, “This is the really important consideration,” and pause again before proceeding. Watch out for vocalized pauses. Try to avoid saying “um,” “well,” “you know,” “OK,” or “so.” Silent pauses are more effective. Pauses are used both to stress a point and to allow students time to think and catch up. A pause can be used to gain attention, for transition to a new event, to give students time to catch up with an illustration, or to take notes.
Don’t plan to lecture for a full period. The average student’s attention span is between ten and twenty minute. After that, students have difficulty concentrating on the speaker. For each lecture, plan to change the pace every fifteen minutes or so to relieve the monotony and recapture students’ interest. For example: ask students to solve a problem at their seats or in groups of two or three, give a demonstration, use an audiovisual aid, or tell a story or anecdote.
Budget your own time carefully. Teaching a large lecture class takes a great deal of time and energy Set up weekly work schedules for yourself so that you are prepared for the onslaught of midterms and finals. Find ways to scale back other obligations, if you can, so that you have time to deal with the complexities of teaching such courses Keep track of time. How long is it taking you to cover each point? Where should you be in the material halfway through the class period? If you seem to be running out of time, what will you leave out? If time runs short, do not speed up to cover everything in your notes. Have some advance plan of what to omit: If I don’t have fifteen minutes left when I reach this heading, I’ll give only one example and distribute a handout with the other examples
Use Body Gestures Two extremes of gesturing are: none and wild. Gestures and movement convey a sense of comfort with the material. They can be used along with vocal variation to stress the importance of something, or simply to point out an important part of a visual.
Adopt a natural speaking stance. Breathe normally. Normal breathing prevents vocal strain that affects the pitch and quality of your speech. Keep your shoulders relaxed, your neck loose, your eyes fully open, and your jaw relaxed. Balance yourself on both feet with your toes and heels on the ground. Beware of shifting movements or unconscious rocking to and from. Keep your knees slightly relaxed. Shoulders should be down and loose, with elbows cocked, and your hands at waist level. If you use a lectern, don’t grip the sides, elbows rigid; instead, keep your elbows bent and lightly rest your hands on the lectern, ready for purposeful gestures.
Use facial expressions to convey emotions. If you appear enthusiastic and eager to tell students what you know they are more likely to be enthusiastic about hearing it. Use your facial features: eyes, eyebrows, forehead, mouth, and jaw to convey enthusiasm, conviction, curiosity, and thoughtfulness
Use Movement to emphasize an important point or to lead into a new topic Two extremes of movement are: clutching the podium and pacing the room. Both are distracting to the communication process. Movement should be a natural flow, from the podium to the board to the audience. Another consideration is your position in the room. Changing location causes the students to refocus their attention, and can keep students alert. Some faculty move to one side of the table or the lectern when presenting one side of an argument and to the other side when presenting the opposing view This movement not only captures students’ attention but reinforces the Opposition between the two points of view .
Use movements to hold Students’ attention. A moving object is more compelling than a static one. Occasionally, move about the room. Use deliberate, purposeful, sustained gestures: hold up an object, roll up your sleeves. To invite students’ questions, adopt an open, casual stance. Beware of nervous foot shifting, however, and aimless, distracting gestures.
Use Graphics The biggest problems with graphics are that they are usually too small to read and contain too much material. Keep graphics simple and large. Discuss the graphic in your lecture. A graphic that is not referenced during the lecture is not much help
To aid memory, use visual illustrations during a lecture. Visual illustrations are remembered longer than verbal information, and they can aid the recall of information that is associated with them. Many classrooms are equipped with technology that will help you add other dimensions to your lecture.
The use of real objects can increase attention, particularly if they are passed around the room. Remember to pause, giving students time to look at them.
Use PowerPoint and Slide ware Presentation
Many instructors find PowerPoint useful in enhancing lectures and emphasizing key point to their students. However, misuse and overuse of this software can lead to a room full of bored looks and glassy stares. To avoid “death by PowerPoint,” consider the following tips.
• PowerPoint is a visual medium. Use graphics, pictures, models, and other images instead of bullets to make your point whenever possible.
• In PowerPoint, less can be more. Think big, bold, andbrief. Do not put large amounts of text on the screen. Aim for no more than seven lines per slide and ruthlessly edit so that your bullets contain only the main points.
• Design your visuals so students in the back row can see them. Font sizes less than 24 pts are difficult to read. Try to choose san serif fonts such as Tahoma, Arial, or Verdana, which are easier to read when projected.
• Avoid putting large amounts of text on the screen and then reading it to the audience. Pause for a moment and let the students read the slide before you comment or elaborate on it.
• Use animation events sparingly.
• Use highlighting features to focus attention on what you are discussing.
• Think contrast when selecting colors for the background and text. Yellow or white text on a black background, for instance, is a good high-contrast choice.
• Select color combinations with care. Text and background in red and blue; red and green; or blue and black can be difficult to read. Also, be aware that color-blind individuals have trouble telling the difference between red and green, or blue and purple. Avoid these color combinations when possible.
• Spend enough time on each slide to fully develop your explanation. Three minutes per slide is a good
• Use slide ware to illustrate and enhance, not duplicate verbal material.
• Plan for a maximum of 1 slide for every 1½ – 2 minutes of lecture.
• Use pictures, graphs, video, or handouts to display complex material rather than reducing to over-simplified bullet points.
• Never use a slide with key elements that you know will be too hard to see or read.
• Relevant detail in charts and graphs must be readable from the back of the hall.
• Keep text slides simple:
• San serif fonts are most readableFont size less that 24 point may be too small to read
• Maximum of six text lines, six words per line
• Text animation often distracts and detracts – use minimally
• Don’t read the slides – let the audience do that.
• Face and talk to the audience, not the screen.
• Use laser pointers minimally – they require you to face the slide.
Develop Listening Skills
To prevent students from sinking into passive listening, also engage students’ active listening skills by interspersing questions throughout your lecture.
Can the rest of the class hear the student asking or answering a question? Have the student stand up and speak loudly enough so everyone can hear. If necessary, repeat the question or answer so that the entire class can hear.
Listeners are quickly saturated with new information. Pictures, examples, and other images help the listener to encode the new information and make it memorable. Remember Howard Gardner’s advice, a few things learned well are more valuable than a lot of information soon forgotten. In general, learners can maintain somewhere between five and nine ideas in mind at a single time. Aim for the lower end of this, and you are more likely to be effective than if you try to teach too much. Cluster things you talk about.
Not all students are good listeners. But it is your responsibility to grab their attention and maintain it. Your job is easier if students come to class prepared for the lecture. To do this, provide them with strategies for arriving to class better prepared
Summarizing reflects on what was read, making sense of it. Students who are unfamiliar with this system should try it out on a small chunk of reading, rather than a whole chapter, until they become comfortable with it. A prepared listener is a motivated listener, because what is being talked about makes more sense and builds on what the learner has read
Good discussion questions get the students’ attention. Start by asking a question associated with something they should have read – not a recall question, but perhaps one on a controversial topic. Start with a divergent question such as, “What are the criteria for evaluating good teaching?” Write the first answer on the board. Ask for another. When you have ten or so criteria, ask the class which is the single best criteria and why? Who has a different opinion? Do not ask recall questions that have a single correct answer unless you are going to do something with the response. Ask the question, and then call on a student to answer it. If you identify the student first, the rest of the class is off the hook, and they may pay less attention.
Closing The Lecture
Tell them what you told them. Although the lowest point for student attention is between 20 to 40 minutes into the lecture, attention picks up again from minutes 40 to 45. But the drawback is that now you are beginning to fatigue. This would be a good time to summarize the important concepts or information for the day. Go over the objectives and the resolution. This strategy brings together the information and helps hold it together. Involve students in the final five minutes of class, rather than lecture to them. Studies have shown that students are thinking about leaving, and assimilation of new information is at its lowest point. Instead, have students jot down the most important thing they learned, or a question they would like answered about the day’s lecture, or have them answer a single question over the lesson material. In the words of Howard Gardner (2000), “In a lecture, less is more.” It is very easy to present too much information, which quickly saturates students, causing them to drop into a passive-listening role.They may understand what is being said, but they are not retaining it
Ask the students for questions. This gives students an opportunity to clarify their understanding of the content. . Several questions which focus on the main points of the content may be used to summarize the content of the lecture. Ensure all answers have been given and offer an outlet to clarify questions that may occur at a later date. Ask for additional questions. Some trainees may have questions, but are too hesitant to raise their hands to ask while you are talking. Finally, close on a positive note. It give your trainees encouragement, expresses confidence in their abilities, and motivates them. Give everyone the opportunity to talk. Spread the questions around; do not answer them all yourself – redirect them to other students in the class. Ask for examples from the students’ experiences.
Draw some conclusion for the class. Help students see that a purpose has been served, that something has been gained during the last hour. A well-planned conclusion rounds out the presentation, ties up loose ends, suggests ways for students to follow up on the lecture, and gives students a sense of closure. Use a transparency, slide or flipchart to review the summary points
Finish forcefully. Don’t allow your lecture to trail off or end in midsentence because the period is over, and avoid the last-minute “Oh, I almost forgot. . .” An impressive ending will echo in students’ minds and prompt them to prepare for the next meeting. End with a thought-provoking question or problem; a quotation that sets an essential theme; a summation of the major issue as students now understand it, having had the benefit’ of the lecture just delivered; or a preview of coming attractions. End your lecture with the volume up. Make your voice strong, lift your chin up, keep your eyes facing the audience. Be sure to stay after class for a few minutes to answer students’ questions.
Strengths and Utility
Lectures are a straightforward way to impart knowledge to students quickly. Instructors also have a greater control over what is being taught in the classroom because they are the sole source of information. Students who are auditory learners find that lectures appeal to their learning Logistically, a lecture is often easier to create than other methods of instruct Lecture is a method familiar to most teachers because it was typically the way they were taught. Because most college courses are lecture-based, students gain experience in this predominant instructional delivery method.
Used in conjunction with active learning teaching strategies, the traditional lecture can be an effective way to achieve instructional goals. The advantages of the lecture approach are that it provides a way to communicate a large amount of information to many listeners, maximizes lecturer control and is non-threatening to students.
The lecture offers the opportunity to deliver a great deal of information to a small or large number of learners while using the teacher’s time efficiently. The teacher can organize and prepare the content and practice the delivery until satisfied that the lecture will help the most learners possible. The teacher can help the students to pull information together, understand it better, or organize it in a way that allows the learner to know when he can and can’t use it.
There are a number of advantages to lectures. For example, a lecture is a convenient way to instruct large groups. The lecture method provides for the effective use of time and manpower in that the instructor can present many ideas to a large group in a relatively short period of time. Also, the lecture method can be used to supplement other methods of instruction.
Lectures can be used to present information that would be difficult for the student to get in other ways, particularly if the students do not have the time required for research, or if they do not have access to reference material. Lectures also can usefully and successfully supplement other teaching devices and methods. A brief introductory lecture can give direction and purpose to a demonstration or prepare students for a discussion by telling them something about the subject matter to be covered.
In a lecture, the instructor can present many ideas in a relatively short time. Facts and ideas that have been logically organized can be concisely presented in rapid sequence. Lecturing is unquestionably the most economical of all teaching methods in terms of the time required to present a given amount of material.
The lecture is particularly suitable for introducing a new subject and for explaining the necessary back- ground information. By using a lecture in this way, the instructor can offer students with varied back- grounds a common understanding of essential principles and facts.
Lectures are best suited for making information memorable; that is, lectures provide elaboration of content, examples, and context. Also, because texts often lag behind current knowledge, lectures are valuable methods for presenting new information.
Weaknesses and Problems
Lecturing remains one of the more popular methods to transmit information and ideas by teachers, trainers and speakers. As students and audience participants we are quite familiar with the approach. Lectures can be informative, boring and overwhelming depending on the compelling nature of the message and the presenter’s style and clarity of message. The lecture method usually is one-way communication and allows for little or none audience participation. The result is audience misunderstanding, loss of information and poor retention.
Although the lecture method can help the instructor meet special challenges, it does have several drawbacks. Too often the lecture inhibits student participation and, as a consequence, many students willingly let the instructor do all the work. Learning is an active process, and the lecture method tends to foster passiveness and teacher-dependence on the part of the students. As a teaching method, the lecture does not bring about maximum attainment of certain types of learning outcomes. Motor skills, for example, can seldom be learned by listening to a lecture.
The lecture does not easily allow the instructor to estimate the students’ understanding as the material is covered. Within a single period, the instructor may unwittingly present more information than students can absorb, and the lecture method provides no accurate means of checking student progress.
The major struggle faced by the lecturer is to keep the students actively involved. Passive listening rarely promotes learning
Many instructors find it difficult to hold the attention of all students in a lecture throughout the class period. To achieve desired learning outcomes through the lecture method, an instructor needs considerable skill in speaking.
The lecture method limits the amount of student participation. A lecture is inadequate for teaching hands-on skills and it is not an effective method for maintaining student interest.
Contrary to popular belief, lectures are not the best method for imparting large amounts of information. Voluminous information is better presented in text format, where it can be made available for review whenever the students need access to it. In fact, one of the most effective learning strategies students can employ is to read and then re-read their text assignment
The disadvantages are that lecturing minimizes feedback from students, assumes an unrealistic level of student understanding and comprehension, and often disengages students from the learning process causing information to be quickly forgo
Students strong in learning styles other than auditory learning will have a harder time being engaged by lectures. Students who are weak in note-taking skills will have trouble understanding what they should remember from lectures. Students can find lectures boring causing them to lose interest. Students may not feel that they are able to ask questions as they arise during lectures. Teachers may not get a real feel for how much students are understanding because there is not that much opportunity for exchanges during lectures.
Lectures are one tool in a teacher’s arsenal of teaching methods. Just as with all the other tools, it should only be used when most appropriate
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