6.3 Delivering a lecture

There are a number of useful tips you may want to keep in mind when delivering a lecture or a presentation:

  1. If possible get to the room early, check the equipment and find out what to do or who to call if things don't work. Take the trouble to put things where you like them and, if possible and necessary, move the furniture to create the dynamics and atmosphere that you want.
  2. Let students know, at the beginning of class, what you will cover during that period by putting a brief outline on the board, by providing a handout, or by any other appropriate means. This will help your students to follow your lecture and rescue themselves if they get lost.
  3. Identify on a slide the learning outcomes for the lecture.
  4. Where appropriate, relate this week's work to last week's so that students begin to develop some sense of the structure of the course content.
  5. Begin slowly and gradually speed up, watching your students for signs of life or loss of attention. In the 15 minutes you've planned for each major concept, spend no more than 10 minutes on straight lecture. Lecturing for more than 10 minutes is inadvisable, because of the strain on the listener. After 10 minutes, ask a question, tell an anecdote, or do whatever is necessary to relieve the tension of listening.
  6. Keep students' attention with your voice and maintain eye contact with your students.
  7. Give the lecture or talk and immediately afterwards make notes to yourself about how you would do it differently next time.

The Teaching and Learning Centre offers a number of training events on lecturing. In addition, you may wish to have your lecture observed, and possibly recorded so you can see yourself in action. Watching how other people set about lecturing can also be useful. Most LSE lectures are 'open' and you are welcome to sit in on them and get some different ideas on style and approach. Discipline-specific specialist guidance on lecturing can be found by visiting the Higher Education Academy Subject Support website at www.heacademy.ac.uk/subjectcentres|. The Teaching and Learning Centre also has a variety of books, guides and videos that you can borrow.

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