Large Group Teaching

Practical Tips:

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

Linda Hutcheon