Giving Effective Lectures
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Lectures are effective for teaching many concepts,
but not for everything. Here are a few alternatives.
- Avoid lecturing on boring facts.
- Ask students to learn them outside of class.
- Give students a list of objectives.
- And a source to find the information.
- Test them on those concepts.
- I use this to teach short run costs in microeconomics.
- I announce a short quiz for the next class period
- and give a list of 7 terms from the textbook.
- The next class, they take the quiz.
- This saves class time, reduces boredom and
- improves learning of this material.
- Complex material can be demonstrated in games.
- Value judgements
- I use a simulation game for macroeconomic development.
- Each student is assigned a role to play.
- Roles include government officials, bankers, peasants,
multinational executives, environmentalists
- Players have a variety of objectives.
- Conflicts are built into the game.
- Actions frequently have unexpected consequences.
- This works very well and raises important issues but,
- it took a long time to develop the game.
3. Teaching Technologies
- Often promise more than they deliver
- Need to be used with care
- Add variety
- Remind us that the 21st century aproaches
- I use a class
website for a variety of purposes
- Email is great for reminders and announcements
- Overheads are low-tech but effective
- Font size needs to be large (at least 24)
- Each transparency should reveal one idea
- Computer overheads (like Powerpoint) are showy
- Large font size is even more important
- Some colors are not readable
- Keep each slide simple
- Have a backup plan if things don't work
Standford University's handbook, "Teaching
at Stanford," has an excellent section on lecturing, and helpful
advice on discussions, grading, technology, etc.
Two good sites on presentation techniques: Effective
Presentations and Presenting
Good lectures aren't boring
- concrete examples
- context and connections
- language-- simple, define terms & symbols
- awareness-- enthusiasm, high energy
- connections-- energy, eye contact
3. Variety: breaking the
- Change the Focus
- solve a problem
- Stop Lecturing
- class activities
- simulation games
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