Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Variety is the spice of... class!

Teaching Technique #4: Switch up your Teaching Style

I have read this in a number of books and articles, so it must be an important one.

Students get bored with the same old lecture format every class. It is a good idea to switch it up a bit and try some new techniques. We actually make our Library Research Methods class very hands-on, which is a good start, but not nearly enough. If the students get used to walking into class each day, receiving a mini-lecture, and then completing a hands-on assignment, they'll get bored.

So try to use as many of these as possible:
  1. Discussion - I assigned two reaction papers during the semester and then we would take class time to discuss them (more on this in a later post).
  2. Use PowerPoint (but not every time!) - I used it twice last semester. Once when teaching citations - I put up examples of bad citations and asked them to find the author, the title, etc. When they struggled, I told them this is why we need to cite things properly (I stole this idea from someone and I apologize, but I cannot remember who).
  3. Group work versus individual work - Use both!
  4. Presentations - One assignment I gave asked them to work in pairs to research a database of their choosing. They then presented it to the class. I only did this the second time I taught and it could use some refining. However, I think working in a presentation is a good idea.
There are many other possibilities, but those are the ones I've used with some (or a lot of) success. Variety really is the way to go.

No comments: