Thursday, April 16, 2009

Daily Preparation

How do other folks prep for lecture? I know that for experienced profs this is so old news. But for newer sorts like myself this is a painful question.

Now, first, I should say my ideal class isn't mostly lecture. It is mostly discussion and investigation. So, my ideal class is: here is some information (historical, biographical, technical, etc). Here is something to investigate (image, text, webpage, etc). Take this information plus this technique/idea/concept and apply to what we are investigating. What do you see? What do you understand? Let's discuss. To me, this is a good class. There are lecture-y bits, but there is a lot of back and forth, a lot of idea exchange. It doesn't necessarily take up our 75-minute block (although it does usually take up our 50-minute classes), and when it works it is typically lively and engaging, for me and for my students.

So if this is the format, how does one prep? Read everything under the sun then create an outline and fill in with copious notes. Do I do the reading, then scribble an outline, then walk into the classroom ... ?

Also, I teach five days a week. Every day. (Don't ask when grading happens.) I do not have the luxury of time (as if anyone does), a day off during the week to catch up, etc. So when I ask how do other profs prep I am really hoping that someone will answer!

1 comment:

  1. My recommendation would be to plan certain kinds of prompts (for brief writing assignments), questions (for discussion) and activities (for small groups to investigate), using in-class and assigned readings, discuss, and report to class. Structuring things so that groups or individuals take up a certain amount of time to report back on reading, leading discussion, etc. or better yet, developing questions to address the group. Having the class develop and pursue its own questions pays off in all sorts of ways. Think about which information, especially key concepts and distinctions, you want them to walk out of class thinking about, which questions should they take with them to the next class, what aspects from previous classes do you need to build on? And so forth. It's really about developing questions and teaching them how to develop and refine their own questions.