In chapter 6 of his book, “The Skillful Teacher” Brookfield (2015) discusses the importance of lecturing creatively. I think we can all agree; basic lecturing has been an over-used instructional technique over the years. When not delivered with some innovation and student interaction it merely becomes the presentation of information by the instructor, directed toward the student, yet no learning takes place. Brookfield (2015) stated, “The challenge is to make our lectures as helpful, enlivening, and critically stimulating as possible.” This is noteworthy because lectures, done right, aim to provide students with the framework to the concepts being taught that are then analyzed, discussed, and reflected upon to gain greater insight, understanding, and learning. Missed learning opportunities occur when lectures lack creativity, imagination and innovation.
Brookfield (2015) shares research based on student input that gives insight to the features of lectures they deem to best support their learning. They are:
- Apply a variety of teaching and communication processes
- Must be clearly organized so students can follow the thread of the lecturer’s thought
- Model learning behaviours expected in the course
Chapter 6 responds to these recommendations with multiple strategies that can be used to enhance student learning by adding unique elements to an otherwise dull sharing of information. However, in trying to consider how best to engage students in ‘my’ own classroom with my specific course content, I found an article that offers additional examples/suggestions that would be suitable for my audience and have summarized the six points below.
- Know and communicate your goals – make sure objectives are clear and communicated
- Engage your audience immediately – humour, storytelling, make connections to draw students in
- Mix it up – use variety in styles, formats and media selection
- Interact with your students –listen, be attentive, read the audience and adjust as needed
- Bring great materials –create engaging lecture handouts, avoid the bad PP
- Less is More – lecture less frequently and keep presentations short
During my final reflection of Chapter 6 I found I became focused on Brookfield’s reasons for using lecturing as a teaching strategy. I can’t help thinking that if lecturing creates such strong outcomes for students, then isn’t it my responsibility to put in the extra thought, research and preparation to add innovation to how the content is delivered and strive for the greatest learning outcomes in my classroom?
Brookfield, S.D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Finley, T. (2014, January 28). Are you not entertained? How to build a dynamic lecture. Retrieved February 8, 2017, from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-to-build-dynamic-lecture-todd-finley