Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I read this post about lecturing at Inside Higher Ed.  It occurred to me that, while I've taken a pedagogy class and read a lot about teaching, I've never actually learned to lecture.  I've learned why lecturing is bad, and alternative teaching methods, but never how to actually lecture.

I've written and given conference papers, which have ranged from 10-30 minutes (and the 30 minute one was actually the time I was allotted). I've given one conference paper where the conference planners specified I was *not* to simply read from the page, but should give a presentation.  I've done plenty of presentations in graduate classes, which have included summarizing texts, giving background information, and leading a discussion.  (And a couple of times professors even gave me feedback on those--but not always.)  And when I taught two sections of a WGS course that had 35 people in each section, I would often present information to the class, which I would supplement with powerpoint slides (primarily because with that many people, not everyone could see what I wrote on the board).

But I've also taken large lecture classes (a couple of which actually had professors who asked questions to the giant, several-hundred person class--and sometimes the handful of us who would answer would get into sort of interesting discussions), and I know that the basis of those classes is the lecture.  I've certainly experienced some really interesting lectures (along with some terribly boring ones).  So, even though it's frowned on, where do I learn to lecture? 

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