We have all had to lecture at some point in our teaching career- maybe informally or formally depending on topic and program. We’ve had to figure out ways to keep students engaged and make the content applicable and understood by the students. Brookfield (2015) outlines several ways to lecture creatively.
He explains in chapter 6 why a lecture style should be introduced: to establish an outline of the material, to explain concepts learners may struggle with, to introduce alternative points of view, to model attitudes and behaviours you’d like to see in your students and to encourage learners interest in a topic. Throughout the chapter Brookfield gives examples of different techniques to use during a lecture. He suggests that using a variety of teaching and communication processes, to be organized in thought and presentation and to model the behaviour expected in the classroom. But what does all this actually mean for YOUR classroom?
For me, using different communication processes is important. I like to use various mediums of media such as youtube, power point and Facebook. I try to gauge the tech level of my class and attempt to appeal to that side of them. I find this helps keep them engaged and I can use their expertise in social media to propel the lecture along.
Organization is still something I struggle with mainly because of all the other life interruptions that happen daily! I try to outline my lecture to provide me with timelines and topics that MUST be covered. I insert what media tool I’m going to use with each topic and find relevant activities to go with the lesson that day. Of course some days I’m forced to “wing it” depending on my time crunch for that week. There’s a noticeable difference and it doesn’t reflect the behaviours I want from my students. I want my students to be organized, to be concise and to try to critically think their way through a lecture. I respond to each question or answer with a positive-negative-positive response. For example, “that’s a great idea but it doesn’t really tie into the main theme but keep those ideas coming.” Or I have other students respond to each other to reinforce communication styles and behaviours they want reflected back.
I think each of us needs to look at our classrooms as unique environments and we need to adapt our lecture style to those environments. Does one group prefer power point and another group activities – can we adjust our lecture to suit these classes? Brookfield also states that important to have students comment during the lecture to help us assess learning. By keeping the students engaged and interacting during a lesson, we can tailor the lecture based on these answers so if it seems there is a lack of understanding we can adjust our lecture style and find a new approach.
Lecturing is hard, especially when you have a difficult or dry topic to teach. By using various communication tools, being organized and showing the behaviour we want in our class, it makes it a bit easier to capture their attention and have them engaged.