Lesson #6 in Student Engagement – Take Extra Time to Prepare for Class

Today’s lesson is a bit of a no-brainer, but because it’s so easy it often gets overlooked.

Making your class engaging and interesting doesn’t happen over night. You absolutely have to take some time to think about and prepare for your class lectures, assignments, tests and other material.

Too many times when I talk to professors I get the distinct impression that they have been using the same material, delivered in the same format for 30 years. Not naming names, but in a course I recently observed the professor was still using overhead transparencies. Really, that’s not a joke.

Some areas to double check

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what you should look over for your class. After all, you have been teaching it much of your adult life. No need to worry, here are a few steps to get you started. Note: this isn’t a comprehensive list. If you have other material that you are using go ahead and look that over too.

  1. Written content: The most obvious is to check for spelling mistakes and make sure the formatting looks correct.
  2. Crafting your opening line: First impressions matter. Make sure that whatever you start you’re lecture with will draw students in.
  3. The point: Make sure your lectures have a point. Even math courses are working towards a goal. If it seems like your lecture doesn’t have a point you will never get traction with your students.
  4. Examples and Word Choice: Believe it or not but there is a generational gap between you and your students. Make sure your examples relate and double check that your word choices don’t have other meanings you aren’t aware of. An odd sexual innuendo can throw off your whole lecture.
  5. Length: Make sure you don’t go over time and make sure you use up the allotted lecture time. Students hate it when class runs late and students deserve to get the full lecture time they are paying for.

Homework: Pick one or two lectures for this week and double check each of the five points discussed above. Also check our previous five lessons on engagement to make sure your lecture fits the criteria mentioned in those lessons.

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