Lecture Intros: Don't Just Dive In

By Peter Connor

First: Tell your students what you're going to tell them.

Too many times professors simply walk into the room and begin their lecture, making no attempt to prepare their students for what to expect in the hour ahead.

The Program for Instructional Innovation at the University of Oklahoma offers the following suggestions:

Prepare your students with a preview of the day’s agenda. Write it on the board for everyone to see. As you preview the agenda, you are sharing with your students the learning objectives and goals you have set for the day.

By providing your students with this information at the beginning of each class, you accomplish at least two things:

  1. You establish a daily plan. If you get off track, you can easily get back on simply by consulting what you have written on the board.
  2. You establish daily learning objectives that create the grounds for students to speak up—ask questions—when they don’t “get it.”

Another thing: Reinforce the "Big Picture." That is, at the beginning of each day’s lecture, tie its topics or issues to the last class period and to the rest of the semester. Review daily how the plan for the whole course is unfolding.

Sources:

Knight, A.B., (n.d.). Lectures: Organizing them and making them interesting. In Ideas on teaching. Retrieved September 2, 2008, from http://www.ou.edu/pii/tips/ideas/lectures.html

Copyright and Permissions:

This Teaching Tip was adapted from material developed by the Program for Instructional Innovation at the University of Oklahoma.

Contributors:

Peter Connor - TILT Web Content Writer and Editor