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How you deliver the information to students is nearly as important as the content itself. If students must struggle to hear, see, or understand, they will lose interest quickly. Conversely, delivering the information from your own knowledge of the subject and the field lends authority to your presentation and inspires interest and attention.

Watch the video on Engaging Lectures

Learn more: Engaging Lectures

Watch the video on Effective Demonstrations

Learn more: Effective Demonstrations

Key guidelines for effective presentations

Speak with a clear voice and strong projection; maintain eye contact with students.

Especially given the number of international students at AAU, instructors must be very self-aware in their speaking style. If students cannot hear or understand you, they are not learning what you're teaching. If you tend to speak softly or mumble, practice speaking more intelligibly outside of class and develop your "teacher voice." Eye contact also leads to greater intelligibility, which you’ll experience when students speak to you; noticing their expressions will also give you clues about whether they are comprehending the material.

Learn more: Engaging Lectures  |  Teaching in a Non-Native Language

Ensure that all students can see and hear.

Quiet students may not let you know that they can't see your demo or hear your lecture. Make a point of noticing how they are positioned and don't be shy about directing them to come to the front of the classroom when necessary, to move or get up out of their chairs, or to rearrange the way they're standing. When they know that you believe this is important, they are more likely to come forward on their own in the future.

Learn more: Engaging Lectures

Demonstrate command and knowledge of subject matter, explaining the material clearly, concisely and thoroughly.

You can demonstrate your command of the subject matter by preparing organized outlines of the material for lecture, citing examples from your professional experience, sharing industry insights, and saying things like, "This is important, so you should write it down." When you share information that may be unique to you, you give them something they can't get anywhere else and demonstrate your expertise in the subject.

Use Big Questions to help students understand the broader context and significance of what they're learning.

Learn more: Demonstrating command of your subject matter  |  Big Questions

Stay focused on topics and meet stated objectives.

Creating an outline of key points for your lecture or demo and posting an agenda on the board each day will provide structure and help you organize your thoughts and stay focused. These practices also give students a trajectory for the session. Identify the goals of each module to clarify the content and meet those goals. Practice your lecture / demo outside of class to improve the smoothness of its delivery. You can use a mirror, record yourself with your phone, or ask a partner or housemate to listen and offer feedback. Taking the time to do this will help you identify areas that might confuse students or trip you up. At the end of your presentation, briefly summarize your points to ensure that you covered all the necessary topics.

Indicate clearly when moving on to the next segment of the class.

Signalling transitions in your lecture using expressions such as — "Before we begin..." or "Next..." or "Finally..." — helps students follow the thread of the lecture. For English-language learners, in particular, these verbal markers are especially helpful.

Emphasize and highlight main points. 

Students may need help in understanding which points from your presentation are most important. By writing key points on the board, encouraging students to take notes, and stopping periodically to summarize, you can guide students' attention to what is most crucial.

Learn more: Previewing Today's Class Session  |   Helping students understand what is important  Using 'Sticky' Ideas to Create Memorable Lectures & Discussions

Clarify and / or repeat complex information.

Students are encountering many ideas for the first time, so repetition and representative examples help them integrate the new information. When lecturing, preview what you’re going to tell students, tell them, and at the end of the lecture, remind them what you just told them. Bring in visuals to show exactly what you mean. Ask comprehension questions to clarify material; for example, “What were the three most important points in today's lecture?” 

Create “Feedback Slips” for students to complete before leaving class. For example, following the “3-2-1 Rule,” ask students to write down 3 things they learned, 2 things they’re not sure about, and 1 question they have. They then hand these in to you before leaving the class to give you immediate feedback on what needs review or clarification.

Learn more: Helping students understand what is important  |  Learning Snapshots

Explain concepts, technical approaches, and rationales while giving a demonstration.

An effective demonstration requires more than just showing students how to do something. Students also need to understand why you are taking the steps you're taking and why one approach is better than another. Go slowly so that all students can follow along, and give them time to practice each part of the process before you proceed to the need. 

Learn more:  Effective Demonstrations

Review the supplies being used and show students how to use them.

Students may be working with supplies for the first time in your class, so it's important to help them understand exactly what they need and how to use these materials properly. Allow plenty of time to introduce the supplies, share any tips, and make sure students know how to use them.

Learn more: Reviewing Supplies

Use visual support (e.g., whiteboard, PowerPoint, videos, samples, etc.) to illustrate, emphasize, or clarify information.

Visuals can help take your presentation from abstract to concrete, giving students a clearer understanding of the ideas you're trying to get across. Write key ideas on the board or point to them in the slide to draw students’ attention to these points. Show actual examples or photographs or videos of what you are talking about whenever possible. When students can see images, words, and even touch samples as well as hear descriptors of what they are learning, the information becomes more 3-dimensional and more easily integrated.

Learn more: Using PowerPoint Effectively  | Using Videos Effectively

Help students to build knowledge week to week

Does it ever seem as though your students don't remember information that you've taught, even as recently as last week? Do blank stares or empty online discussion areas greet you when you ask what should be a review question at the start of class? People remember best when they 1) connect new knowledge to conceptual frameworks (or "schemas") they already have, and 2) review that new information along with those conceptual connections often.

Learn more: Helping Students to Build Knowledge Week to Week

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