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Why is this important?

A common observation among instructors everywhere is that students are not prepared for academic work, so supporting them in recognizing key ideas is one facet of bridging that "preparedness gap."  We are not spoon-feeding them so much as modeling and instructing them in how to identify the most critical information presented.

Try these strategies for lectures.

  • After every 10-15 minutes, stop your presentation and summarize the key points you just made. Students will retain information better if they hear it more than once.
  • When doing a lecture, tell the students what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, and at the end of the lecture remind them of what you just told them.
  • Write key points on the board. Walk over to the board and point to them while addressing that content.
  • Point or gesture to important information on the whiteboard or PowerPoint slides.
  • Remind students to take notes. Tell the students what key things they should be writing down.
  • Create a worksheet for students to complete and take notes on while listening to the lecture. This will help them focus on key information.
  • Bring in visuals to show exactly what you mean.
  • Ask comprehension questions to clarify material. For example, “What are the three most important points the lecture addressed today?”
  • Create “ Feedback Slips” for students to complete before leaving class. For example, try the “3-2-1 Rule.” Ask s tudents to write down three things they learned, two things they’re not sure about, and one question they have.

Watch the video on "Engaging Lectures"

Try these strategies for demonstrations.

  • Slow the demonstration down. The demo needs to be done at a speed where even slower students can keep up. 
  • Periodically summarize the main points of the demonstration. Before moving to the next step in a demo, always give a short verbal summary stating the main points.  
  • Pose questions to the class regularly to check students’ understanding, andgive students clear instructions for how to respond to your questions. For example, ask the students questions like: 
    • Who’s with me? Give me a thumbs up. 
    • Who needs help? Raise your hand. 
    • Who has a question? Write it on the whiteboard. 
  • Turn the demonstration into a game. A friendly competition amongst the class is a fun way to mix up your demonstrations. A game can be great for student engagement and gauging students' understanding. The following game is structured to increase repetition amongst the students and to encourage peer to peer teaching. As the saying goes, “the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else.”  Here's how:
    • Tell your students that the demonstration will be a team competition and that each row will be one team.  
    • Ask teams to select a team leader and to name their team. Write the team names on the whiteboard. 
    • Invite the team leaders up to the front of the classroom. Explain to the class that you will teach these team leaders the first few steps of the demonstration. Then, the team leaders will return to their rows and teach the steps to their teams.  
    • The team leaders — and only the team leaders — can come to the front to ask you questions and to watch your demo again as many times as needed.   
    • After the team leaders have taught their team the steps of the demo and all team members have followed along at their individual workstations, that team is awarded a point. The first team to finish gets 3 points, the second team to finish gets 2 points, and the third team to finish gets 1 point.   
    • When all teams have finished the steps, tally all the awarded points on the whiteboard under the team name. 
    • Next, the team leader role rotates to another team member. The new team leaders come to the front and learn the next few steps of the demo.  
    • Play continues until all the necessary steps of the demo have been covered.  
    • Finally, congratulate the team that has the most points. 

Watch the video on "Effective Demonstrations" 


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