This is an important topic, and one that I have addressed in many of my newsletter articles. Many new professors spend too much time in preparation, and don’t necessarily produce the best lessons.
Here are some very quick pointers to make things easier on yourself. This is just a starter, since volumes have been written on this topic. I see my role as being aware of the literature and giving you tips in a palatable, manageable format that can lead to action steps.
- Allow more time in your classes, even your lectures, for interactions with the students. Get them to answer questions, role play, debate, etc.
- Allow pauses in your lecturing. Give your students a chance to catch up in their notes, to take in what you’re saying. When you ask if there are any questions, allow a longer pause than you are comfortable.
- Don’t overprepare for your classes. It’s ok for your students to know that you don’t know everything. They will actually respect you more for being real.
- Don’t read your notes. That is so boring. Remember hating that when you were an undergrad?
- Don’t try to cram every scrap of information into each class, going faster and fast as you see you’re running out of time. This just annoys students and makes it unlikely that they will take the information in.
- Don’t squeeze all the information you didn’t give them into the last few classes of the semester. Plan ahead and use the last few classes for clarifying and review, if possible. After all, your goal is for your students to learn and retain the information.
This bunch of tips just scratches the surface of changes you can make in your teaching techniques. Read my newsletter and get hints that you can use to help you do a better job with more ease.
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