Lectures and Lecturing

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Try some interaction

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Introduction to interaction

There is plenty of research evidence (see Is it …dissemination of information?) to show that 15 minutes is about the longest students can concentrate at a time. Breaking the lecture up into sections can give them a chance to take a break from listening and also to process what you've just told them. Encouraging interaction in lectures has many benefits for the audience and it's well worth a lecturer developing some basic skills in this area.

You might resent the time spent away from telling students about the ’content‘ of the unit but see the FAQ Is the lecture format really the best way of introducing students to this material? for some ideas on alternative ways of transmitting information.

If you aren't used to encouraging ’audience participation‘ then interactions may seem like a big step. You might be thinking…

  • “It'll be chaos”
  • “There are too many of them”
  • “It's a lecture – I'm doing the talking”
  • “They never answer when I ask a question”

The trick is to start with some easy techniques and to build up your confidence gradually. There are lots of small things you can try to get started with interactions in lectures. This section is split into five sections, which you can navigate through using the box on the right.

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