Monday, April 27, 2009

Boring Within or Simply Boring?




I was reading this article on insidehighered.com the other day.

All I have to say is BRILLIANT! (OK, maybe I am getting a bit carried away here)

While the article doesn't point out much new information (for me anyways - sorry, I don't mean to sound like a snob), it manages to point out that a lecture is not an inherent ability that you are either born with or you are not. It's is a skill, an art dare I say, that you cultivate, and the longer you practice this art, the better you become at it (especially if you are inclined to take constructive critique).

This isn't all that different from when I was learning to prepare presentations as a young(er) graduate student. Did my first presentations stink? Of course they did! But as time went by, and I spent more time thinking about content, layout, information outside of my powerpoint deck, and I practiced, I got better at it! Lectures are the same way too :-)

I liked this particular quote from the article:

Bad lecturers violate nearly every rule of good communication. They never vary voice timbre or pitch. They either stare at their notes or ignore them altogether and ramble onto whatever topic comes to mind. They never make eye contact with their audience or use visual aids and handouts. Everything comes out at the same speed, and they never, ever show the slightest bit of life when discussing the very subject that supposedly excites them. Check for a pulse; if you can stay awake!
Step one to improving your lecture skills is to purge yourself of bad communication habits, but the rest of lecturing is a formula. Mix with enthusiasm and repeat the following:
  • Stated Objective(s)
  • A Plan
  • Hook
  • Body
  • Repetition
  • Summary
  • Restated Objective(s)
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