Lectures have the potential of being long, dry, and boring. The look on students faces as they struggle to stay focused, can be so discouraging. So how can we turn our lectures around, make them more enjoyable and engaging? Chapter 6 of Brookfield’s The Skillful Teacher helps with this by discussing, Lecturing Creatively. Brookfield states that we should use a mix of these teaching and communication approaches: Deliberately introduce periods of silence, introduce buzz groups, lecture from Siberia, use spatial separation for “speaking in tongues”, break lectures into well-paced 10-15-minute chunks that deal with separate ideas, use clickers and other classroom response systems, and use social media.
Of these teaching approaches, I am already using two of them, deliberately introduce periods of silence, and lecture from Siberia. Introducing moments of silence after a 10-15 minute chuck of lecture gives the class the opportunity to absorb what you have just presented, gather their thoughts, and reflect on what was just presented. This can then lead into a brief discussion, they can ask question to gain clarification, you can ask leading questions, or one-minute papers can be used. I also love lecturing from Siberia, which by the way I had no idea was actual thing until I read this chapter. It involves breaking traditional lecturing practice of standing at the front of the class. Moving around the room, making your way to that far back corner, “Siberia”, where students insist on sitting, catches students off guard, creating a more impactful lecture. Anything unusual and out of the ordinary has a way of creating interest and curiosity. The traditional front of the classroom strategy can trigger expectations of a long boring lecture about to start.
I found this very creative way of gaining the classes attention online,