Simple Rule: ENGAGE YOUR CLASS! Why should you engage your learners instead of just standing before them, lecturing?
An old Chinese proverb sums it up best...
How do you engage a class?
The attention span of an adult learner is short. Some suggest that most adults can only stay focused for 10-15 minutes at a time. Combine this with the idea that we only retain 20% of what we hear, and what you have as an instructor–if you are only lecturing to your class–is a room full of blank stares within 10-15 minutes after you begin.
Here are a few suggestions for ENGAGING your class:
- Use a variety of media. Media types should be varied at least once every 10 minutes. For example, you could start with lecturing and writing on the board, then migrate to a PowerPoint presentation, video clip, or having students work on a computer. This provides a nice mixture of media types that will keep your class engaged.
- Ask questions that promote discussion. This is a great way to keep your class alert and will provide feedback on their understanding of the concepts.
- Provide exercises and activities that provide group interaction, an opportunity to move, or be engaged in discovery.
How do you present your content in a way that ENGAGES?
- Relevance– is your content relevant to what your class needs to know or do?
- Are you telling a story?– teaching is really about storytelling. Think of your content in this way. Does it tell a story? If not, structure the content into smaller chunks that are linked together in a logical flow.
- Your physical position– Do not block the learners’ view of your visuals and try to move around the room as you present.
- Establish rapport– comfortable learners are more likely to learn. Call learners by name when you can and never compromise anyone’s self-esteem (e.g., never criticize in public).
- Be a good conversationalist– look your participants in the eye and talk with them, rather than at them.
- PowerPoint– more slides are not necessarily better. When preparing PowerPoint presentations, consider the 6x6 rule: never more than 6 bullet points per slide, 6 lines per slide, or 6 text-only slides in a row. Also, ensure your text is readable from the back of the room.
- Self-evaluate yourself at the end of the class to determine what went well or could be improved. This will benefit your lesson on its next offering.