Colorful Lecturing in a High School Classroom

By Stephen Krofl June 2012

Recently, there has been a recent push for much more collaborative learning in the classroom.  While collaborative learning is a great tool, lecturing still has a sound place in the context in a classroom.  Below are some tips to think about when creating a colorful lecture for your students.  In this day and age of overstimulation in the media hitting every imaginable sense, don't feel that your lectures have to be as fast moving!  Here are some points to consider:

  • Be very explicit with your expectations for your students.  If you want them to take notes, tell them exactly how they should be taking notes.  Provide a graphic organizer, when possible, for students to help organize their thoughts
  • Graphic organizers are a great tool.  Create a graphic organizer to pass out to the class before the lecture begins.
  • Allow ample time for breaks in the "teacher talk".  Remember that the children you are teaching do not have that long of an attention span. 
  • During breaks, use a variety of strategies to "digest" the material.  Activities such as "think, pair, and share" or a "mini-debate with the teacher" are great tools to trigger new thoughts and ideas.
  • Have a sense of humor.  Don't be overly cheesy, kids usually don't respond to that.  Sarcasm can be a great tool, if used properly.
  • Provide visuals for the students.  Providing an image or video clip to support your lecture topic can go great distances.  Once again, you don't have to be over the top with the visuals.
  • Death by PowerPoint.  PowerPoint can be a great tool, be careful when selecting font sizes.  Try to keep them larger and bold.  Use as little text as possible on the slides, keep it to key words and phrases.
  • "Silence is golden" Students need time to process information and share thoughts.  Effective questioning should allow for a "waiting period" in which the students can form a thoughtful response.