How To Spend Less Time Preparing Better Lectures

Advice for new instructors suggests spending two to three hours preparing for a one-hour lectures when presenting familiar material. If you have given a presentation before, it should be no longer than 30 minutes. This time frame may seem backwards/probably insane. The purpose of this post is to convince you otherwise.

I recommend that less time spent preparing leads to better lectures. This is because over-preparation can make students bogged down in details. Research consistently shows that the less material presented, the higher the student retention rate. Also, over-preparation leads to lectures filling the entire lecture period, which is not optimal for student learning.

So how do you avoid over-preparing for a lecture? Below are some suggestions by Joseph Blake smith little rock AR.

(1) Set Learning Goals First

First, setting out how you want your students to change by the end of the lecture will help you focus on your preparation. Also, don’t waste time collecting materials that you won’t end up using. A good guideline is to limit yourself to 2-3 learning objectives in a 1-hour presentation.

(2) Coverless Content

The less content you cover, the less time you need to prepare. While it may be tempting to impress your audience with the breadth and depth of your knowledge of the subject, there is not much new information that students can digest in a lecture.Concentrate on communicating your ideas well. 

This allows you to repeat your points, provide examples, and connect the content to your own experiences—all of these support student retention. If you’re struggling to narrow the scope of your lecture, consider assigning reading material that provides students with basic facts and background on your topic. This allows you to focus on the problems, puzzles, and discussions that make your topic interesting.

(3) Have The Students Do Some Work

I’m not going to teach the whole period. Instead, plan mini-discussion sections, group work, short discussions, or other activities that allow students to engage with the material (more info here) actively. Student retention is also improved  because students retain more information in interactive lectures than in traditional studies. 

4) Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

Even if you’re preparing a lecture you’ve never trained before, someone else is preparing on the same topic. If you are guest lecturing in an existing class, ask your lead instructor for previous lecture notes and materials. If you are preparing a lecture for an event previously taught in your department, ask your colleagues for materials.

(5) Prepare A Synopsis Instead Of A Script

Prepare an outline with your main points, supporting evidence, questions to ask, and activities to include, but don’t write a full script. It takes too long. Reading the script also prevents you from making eye contact with your students, making your presentation sound like a rehearsal according to Joseph Blake smith little rock AR If you’re nervous, consider writing an introductory part of your talk, start speaking fluently, and start working with an overview of the rest of your address.

(6) Accept Imperfections

This suggestion is for people with perfectionist tendencies (like me). You know who you are. If you’re going to give a presentation, it doesn’t have to be as brief as writing it down. It’s okay if you can’t answer every question a student asks. (In fact, admitting what you don’t know can increase your credibility as an instructor). 

In other words, it doesn’t matter if your presentation isn’t “perfect”. Treating each lecture as a learning experience and looking forward to feedback allows you to grow as a teacher continuously. We hope this article has provided you with ideas for efficient lecture preparation and that you have been convinced that more time preparing lectures does not necessarily lead to better learning outcomes for your students.

Do you have any other time-saving tips you used when preparing for the lecture? Leave them in the comments below!

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