Teaching & Learning

Lecturing

Introduction

Lectures are the most common way of teaching at CBS; and yet a very challenging one. The lecture as a teaching method is basically characterized by undirectional communication, from lecturer to students. This is also why it is very challenging since studies have shown that student concentration during lectures drop dramatically after about 20 minutes.

 

Lectures and presentations

Lecturing is especially fitted for arousing student curiosity and motivation to learn, to give en overview of a subject or to give an assembled background knowledge summary that is not otherwise available. Although this teaching method is very common, it is under pressure for many reasons. First of all because this method often leaves students as passive spectators. However, it does not necessarily have to be so.

Presentations will always be a part of teaching at universities. Moreover, no matter how many students you have in your classroom, presentations can be broken up by short student activities which can improve the outcome. Lectureres are expected to be more dynamic, to encourage active learning, and to engage students rather than deliver a monolouge prompted by notes or PowerPoint.

Basic presentation suggestions

Grab student's attention

The opening is the most important part, if you lose your students in the first five minutes it will be difficult to bring them on track. Therefore, you have to have to connect with your students they should know and feel that you all have something in common. Many lectures open their presentations by showing an agenda.

Although it is nice for the audience to be presented for the program rather quick after the start, it might not be the best way to catch attention. To grab this you might start with an example, an anecdote, a quiz or a question. Get an agreement to engage the sutdents from the start and encourage them to ask questions.

Talk to individuals

You don't speak to the floor and you don't speak to the birds outside the window. You speak to your students, so look at them while you are talking. But don't look in the eyes on the same student for several minutes, it istoo intimate. Look shortly at students sitting in different places in the room. When you address a specific student, use the students name if possible (you might have nameplates).

 

 

Your tempo, voice and body

When you start teaching it will be impossible to manage all the following to perfection. You have to implement it by and by. It is important not to exaggerate these matters, - don't speak artificially slow or shout to be sure you can be heard. If the back rows have difficulties to hear you use a microphone if possible. Speak clearly, not to fast, not to slow. However, you probably have to speak slower than you do in a conversation.

It also has a good effect if, now and then, you create variations in your tempo. Make pauses in your speak especially after key points. Your breath is very important for your volume and for your tone. You have to use the air of your lunges to speak. If you are nervous, you can have a tendency to close your body, so your speech will be pressed only from our throat, and your sound will be low and unpleasant.

 

 

Reactions from students

Keep an eye on your student's reactions. Do they engage, do they listen to you, are they hiding behind the screens of their laptops, do they try to avoid falling asleep? You need to know. If you feel you loose them, ask them, ask whay they think you can do better.

Do's and dont's

 

Following points are suggestions concerning what to do to keep students awake and what to aviod to maintain students attention during lectures.

Do's

Attention

Grab student's attention in your opening

Dialogue

Talk to individuals

Reactions

Keep an eye on the student's reactions

Student interaction

Add questions for students to discuss and reflect on in pairs

Digitalizatoin

Use digital media as video or audio clip to demonstrate examples

Presentations

No matter how many students you have in your classroom, presentations can be broken up by short student activities which can improve the outcome.

Body

Be aware of your body. Use both hands and body to underline points. Move around in the room and try to show enthusiasm about the topic and especially underline how important the students learning is for you.

Tempo

Be aware of your tempo and your voice. Try to vary the intonation of your voice, it doesn’t matter how interesting the content is a monotone voice is guaranteed to send a lecture room full of students to sleep.
Dont's 

Fillers

Try to avoid fillers (such as "um", "er", or "you know).

To obscure

Do not stay in a position where you obscure the screen or the blackboard.

Open laptops

Try to avoid student's open laptops, if they are not used. Notes can be taken in breaks, and they are most effective if they are written on paper.

Turn back on students

Do not turn your back on the students and read from your PowerPoint. If one of your PowerPoints contains a lot of important text, the students can read themselves.

Do not speak for to long

When you are lecturing, do not speak for more than 20 minutes in a row. Have a break where you can ask the students to take notes, reed their neighbors notes, arrange small group disccussions etc.

Overuse PowerPoint

You can benefit from using a variety of teaching technologies. Do not overuse PowerPoint. Powepoint is great for visualizing; it is neither your manuscript nor a replacement of the textbook. Use blackboard/whiteboard especially when you have a dialouge in class.

Ressources

 

Familiarize your self with more information down below:

 

10 Tips to lecturers at CBS, by CBS Teaching & Learning. Senior staff at CBS gives 10 recommendations on how to improve your lecturing

"Lecturing", by Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University. An online compilation of lecturing resources ranging from the basics to the use of effective visuals and how to create interactive lectures.

Chapter 4.1.: Lectures, from Rienecker, Stray Jørgensen, Dolin and Ingerslev, (ed): Univsersity Teaching and Learning, Samfundslitteratur 2015. The book presents a wide range of issues and topics within university teaching.

Questions and dialogue in university teaching", Tofteskov & Ravn, 2015 (available in Danish or English)