For Teachers

How to Become a Professor who Keeps Lectures Interesting

By The Room 241 Team October 27, 2012

The changing classroom environment makes it challenging for professors to maintain the attention of students. Keeping lectures interesting is not always easy, particularly when the subject matter is monotonous or tedious. Students can easily lose interest as a professor focuses on the facts rather than the class. By taking measures to keep the lectures interesting, professors are able to engage students and make the lecture pass quickly.

Capture the Audience with Stories

The opening statement in any lecture must grab the attention of students and engage them in the material. Without a strong opening statement or attention grabber, professors can quickly lose the attention of students and make the lecture experience boring.

By starting the class with a story, engaging personal experience, short activity or an example that relates to the subject matter, professors are able to capture the attention of the class by doing something unexpected. Students expect professors to always start the lecture by getting directly into the material.

According to the University of California at Riverside, putting aside a few minutes at the start of a lecture to bring the attention of the class to the lecturer can make the lecture fun. Students are more likely to attend and enjoy learning when a professor begins with something unexpected, fun and engaging.

Short activities or short stories that relate to the material might not always be easy to develop, but a professor will see a dramatic improvement in student performance. When students are engaged in the lecture from the beginning, they are more likely to succeed and learn the material throughout the semester.

Get Creative

While teachers need to consider the class and the subject matter, getting creative in giving lectures can improve the ability to retain student attention throughout the class.

Creativity can relate to activities, discussions or even just dressing up in an unexpected costume that relates to the topic. By using spontaneous actions and engaging in creative activities, professors are more likely to keep the attention of students beyond the first minutes.

Provide Challenging Material

Challenging material in the lecture is vital to grabbing the attention of students and maintaining it throughout the lecture. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, students want to feel engaged and challenged in lectures and class. Professors need to engage students by providing challenging material that encourages them to attend classes, study for tests and work on projects.

While subject matter will vary, setting high standards for the class is crucial to maintaining student attention. When a classroom is not challenging, students are likely to feel bored. Instead of allowing students to succumb to boredom, teachers need to provide hard material that keeps the class engaged.

Open the Floor for Discussion

Discussion in the classroom is an important part of learning. When students are able to state their opinions, ask questions and get involved in the class, they are more likely to stay engaged throughout the lecture.

A lecture does not necessarily mean that the teacher is not able to ask questions of students or encourage them to talk. Encouraging discussion, opinions and ideas will make the classroom engaging and allow students to form their own opinions about subject matter.

According to UC-Riverside, talking about something unrelated to the class or opening the floor for discussion about an unexpected topic will break up the monotony of a lecture. Teachers can engage students and encourage discussion by making the class get involved in the topic.

A fun classroom environment is unexpected, encouraging, engaging and provides students with the opportunity to ask questions or state opinions. Discussion is an excellent way to break up the monotony of lectures and allow students an opportunity to get involved.

Keeping up with a class full of students is not always easy. A professor needs to make the material interesting and ensure the lecture is engaging to help students achieve high academic performance. By getting creative, setting high standards and allowing students to get involved in a discussion or debate, teachers are making the lecture interesting and encouraging better learning among students.

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