Lectures and Lecturing

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Early attention grabbers

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Starting points

How do you start your lectures? What do you do to inform the group that you're ready to start?

Ferris State University Center for Teaching, Learning & Faculty Development suggests using one of the following to get students' attention quickly:

  • personal experience
  • story
  • joke/cartoon
  • challenge/problem/question
  • tests or quizzes
  • the unpredictable
  • dress/movement/voice

These are all good starting points. At first sight you may think that you can't possibly think of anything under those headings, but if you pick one and think it through in relation to a particular topic something might come to you. This article by James M Lang gives some easy-to-implement suggestions for changing the ways that you begin lectures: Small Changes in Teaching: The First 5 Minutes of Class. It's a really good idea to try bouncing ideas off a colleague who knows your subject as two heads are often better than one when it comes to moving slightly outside the usual ‘box’.

This section gives a few ideas for using personal experience, humour, current affairs, images, film or audio clips to start a session off or to provide a pause for thought.

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