Large Group Teaching
1. Don’t underestimate how much you can say in a 50-minute lecture.
-extra organizing/preparation will be needed
-learn the meaning of “filler”–lighter moments help
-think about pace: iteration, a-v, board, PowerPoint
-teach first-year students how to take notes
-outline the plan for the class at the start
-sign-post en route; sum up at the end
2. Don’t underestimate the value of chalkboards, overheads, PowerPoint, etc.
-never assume you have been “heard” correctly
-put key words, names, works on board
-give “en route” bibliographical information
-it gets into lecture notes at the appropriate spot
3. Don’t underestimate the power of “performance.”
-this is not trivializing–it is teaching as communication
-“perform” but be yourself (perform yourself?)
-do what works for YOU–get ideas from others; don’t copy
-be enthusiastic–it’s contagious
4. Do let them know you DO care–no matter how large the class.
-try a ‘course expectations’ sheet–refer to their comments on these in class
-have special office hour for the large class–and tell them it’s for them
-learn some of the names; use them–“the illusion of memory”
5. Do try to get some discussion going.
-break into smaller groups, if necessary
-win their confidence: never condescend or mock or put down
-be supportive and encouraging
6. Do keep the physical limitations of the large room in mind.
-the static and fixed lecturer is a bore
-avoid microphones if possible–get voice training?
7. Do remind them of the course (and class) outline/”meta-narrative”.
-don’t be subtle about this
-tell them what you are doing and why
-signposts are more necessary in large classes than small
8. Do keep to class time.
-hundreds of restless students are deafeningly noisy
-don’t leave questions to the end–you lose their attention
-don’t escape instantly; stop early if necessary
–give them a chance to come up and ask questions