Making lectures more personal


Just as lectures can feel impersonal to academic staff, being in lectures can make students feel like just one of a crowd, as teaching is “mass delivered” and individual input in sometimes not sought. Here are some tips you can also use these to make your lectures more personal:

  • Maintain eye contact with students and address them directly as “you”.
  • Be sure you address students in all parts of the room, not just those in the front and middle of the room. Roaming your eye contact around the class is helpful in making all students feel part of the lecture and indeed may solve some disciplinary problems.
  • To help you engage with students in all parts of the room, divide it into quarters (or similar) and give each “division” a team colour (this could be done with coloured “post-it” notes). You can than ask for questions and/or answers from the “red team” or the “blue team”. Other colours can then be asked to help out e.g. if the red team get “stuck”. You could set up the team to compete in a “quiz”. This approach ensures that students at the back of the room know from the beginning of the session that they will be involved, and it ensures that you will spread your attention over the whole group.
  • Move about at times so that you are closer to students at the back of the room. This may help in solving some of the disciplinary problems, as student will feel involved more of the time.
  • Learn some students’ names and use these when talking to them, however don’t just use the same names week after week.
  • If you have a mixed group, identify where the students come from. For instance, at the start of the session ask for a show of hands e.g. “Who are the physiotherapists? Who are the homeopaths?” Then direct questions to, or seek comments from, these groups e.g. “Can I have a view from the homeopaths?” This will help a mixed group of students all feel engaged.
  • When a student asks a question, repeat it so that everyone can hear and then answer the question to the class as a whole. Avoid alienating most of the class by having a one-to-one conversation with a particular student!
  • Smile at students and thank them for their contributions, questions and attention.
  • Arrive early and talk to those student who are also present early.
  • Use an online tool such as Padlet to collect questions and ask students to put their names on the questions so you can address them personally.

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