Lecture Hints

Perhaps the most commonly used teaching technique is the lecture. But a lecture is not simply a list of facts or a rereading of the textbook. And it doesn’t have to be a fifty-minute drone-fest – a well-planned lecture can be an integral component of an active teaching and learning strategy. 

      • Don't Cover It All. Base your lecture on the most important material in the reading assignment or a topic students are likely to find difficult. Make the students responsible for the assigned text reading, noting their questions and bringing them to class.
      • Make Choices. Your lecture should present no more than three or four major issues, with time for examples and questions. Identify the critical message of your lecture, then succinctly present the bare bones. Students will absorb the salient points easily if they are few in number, clear, and coupled with examples.
      • Chunk It. Break up your lecture into 15-minute chunks. Switch gears after each 15-minute mini-lecture and do something different: pose a discussion question, give a short in-class writing assignment, encourage small group discussion, or present a problem-solving activity.
      • Pose Reflective Questions. Reflective questions require students to think—not to simply reply yes or no (e.g., What would you do in this particular situation? How would you approach solving this problem?). Be sure to plan your questions, and be prepared to wait for an appropriate amount of time for an answer.
      • Get Them Writing. Rather than simply posing a question, ask students to write about the question first for 3 to 5 minutes, then solicit their responses. This will give them time to think through their answers and make them more comfortable expressing their views without fear of forgetting their point.