The Skillful Teacher: Lecturing Creatively

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By Marwa Kotb.

Lecturing is one of the oldest and most known methods of teaching at colleges and universities. It can be the most ineffective strategy when poorly performed, yet everyone of us must have enjoyed some of lectures attended and admired the speakers that were so present and engaged the audience every single second of their class.Though most recent articles described the strategy passive and blamed lecturing for Iraq i.e. higher education failures. But I agree with Brookfield, lecturing is just like any other strategy its success depends much on the delivery (Brookfield, 2015).

“Lectures work best when they are in service of the appropriate learning objectives” ( Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation, n.d.). The author listed five reasons to use lecturing, in my opinion the most significant were, first to promote understanding via explanations with frequent examples of difficult concepts  after “individual study” (Brookfield, 2015, p.71), second to review the different perspectives on a debate, and finally to create or engage interest in a new area.

The author provided suggestions to aid educators keep students focused and engaged. Among them, breaking the lecture into small chunks 10-15 minutes in order to retain students’ attention. Introducing a period of silence after each chunk to help students to digest content presented and assess their understanding. Using buzz groups within lecture to enhance student interaction with subject matter. Use Classroom Response Systems, or “Clickers.” to collect students’ votes on a question posed after each chunk. Periodically grab students’ attention using verbal signals for example “pay attention” to signal important points. It is important for educators to leave the lectern and move around the classroom to reach out “Siberia“ (Brookfield, 2015, p.75) i.e. students sitting in a far location of the classroom. Since role play is a powerful motivator, the author play multiple roles in a good sense of humor to represent different perspectives of same topic. Unlike the golden rule “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you’ve told them.” (Brookfield, 2015, p.80)  where the typical known sequence of a lecture that start up by introducing objectives, then explain details of the topic, and at the end of the class recap the findings in a summary, the author purposes to begin the lecture with question or questions to arouse curiosity, and end the lecture with another series of questions asking students something difficult or unaddressed during the lecture to be answered during the coming lectures or through social media (Brookfield, 2015).

The majority of Brookfield’s suggestions were unique unlike most of my previous findings on similar issue that focused on good lecturer features and content, commonly you will find tips such as maintaining good eye contact, avoid reading your lectures verbatim, and lecture should contain no more than three to four major points etc. (Center of Teaching and Learning, n.d.). Here the author addressed the issue using practices that I believe will help lecturers to build an active learning environment . Though I found the majority of practices of high benefit . Yet I totally disagree with the author to use social media in class as I think it will be quite distracting and stressful if utilized.

References:

Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the classroom (3rd ed.) .San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Center for Teaching  & Learning. (n.d.) Teaching Effectively. University of Goergia. Retrieved from http://ctl.uga.edu/pages/teaching-effectively

Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation. (n.d.) Design & Teach a Course. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved from https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/design/instructionalstrategies/lectures.html

 

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