I apologize to all the students who were subjected to my lectures, prior to me taking the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program (PIDP).
In the past, my classroom lectures were “teacher focussed” in that students were forced to listen while I downloaded the information they needed to know, via long lectures supported by PowerPoint slides.
Some students paid attention, others glazed over, and in a couple cases some even fell asleep!
Given that many of my classes run in the evenings or on weekends, students are often tired when they come to class and need something more stimulating than having me talk, while they are forced to listen to, and absorb, the materials presented.
But, lectures aren’t all bad. In chapter six of The Skillful Teacher, author Stephen Brookfield lists five of the most common reasons lectures should be included in our teaching repertoire:
- To establish the broad outline of the material.
- To explain, with frequent examples, concepts that learners struggle to understand.
- To introduce alternative perspectives and interpretations.
- To model intellectual attitudes and behaviours you wish to encourage in students.
- To encourage learners’ interest in a topic.
Students need a good mix of relevant lecture and active learning to keep them engaged. I now like to follow the “Mini-Lesson Cycle” taught in the Instructor Skills Workshop course. It involves creating three 40-minute lectures for a 3 hour-class format, like the ones I teach.
Here is an infographic that gives a breakdown of the Mini-Lesson:
I successfully implemented this cycle in five courses in the Fall semester and as a result, I saw an increase in engagement levels and evaluation scores.
Brookfield, S. (1990). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
The Art of Teaching. (n.d.). Retrieved January 07, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/BCcampus/the-art-of-teaching-2287974