Many techniques, hints and tips are available to help you provide a good lecture experience for your audience, and a more rewarding experience for yourself.
Returning to the ‘Rule of Threes’, the following underpin a good lecture(r).
State the purpose and structure of the lecture. Make sure that you can be heard and that you and your visual aids can be seen. Make it a rule to use simple and explicit language, unless you wish to be deliberately ambiguous or provocative to promote reflection and enquiry. Pace your delivery so that the audience can engage with the material and take notes.
Know your subject and be willing to share your authority. As well as giving information, pose thought-provoking questions and provide signposts for learners to follow up and extend their learning.
Don’t read or, worse still, dictate. Speak to the audience not at it. Make good eye contact and establish a relationship with participants. Vary your style, vary your delivery and vary the ways in which you involve the audience.
The Beginning of the Lecture
- Decide how you intend to start the lecture before you start the lecture.
- Describe the aims, objectives and learning objectives/outcomes of the lecture. See the Setting learning objectives module in this series for more about defining aims, objectives and learning outcomes.
- Describe the proposed structure and list the subjects to be covered. Back this up with your handouts.
- Outline your expectations of the audience.
During the Lecture
- Give plenty of examples of the points made.
- Explain new concepts in terms of familiar ones, by using analogies.
- Frequently refer back to the lecture outline so that students can review the information already covered, note key points and see how the lecture is progressing. Summarise the main points covered in each section.
- Vary the format of the lecture – give students a break and/or significantly change the teaching technique. See ‘How to encourage active learning’ below.
- Exhibit enthusiasm and imagination, and inspire and motivate your audience to learn.
- Use your voice effectively to transmit information and emphasise key points.
- Try not to read from the full text of your lecture, just use key points or be guided by the slides.