Checklist for Effective Lecturing

A lecturer models best practices.

Quick Checklist

Be Prepared

  • Outline clear objectives for your lecture—both what students should know after the lecture and why it is important.
  • Develop a lecture outline and any audiovisuals.
  • If you are nervous about the lecture, write out your introduction and rehearse it.

Keep Your Focus

  • Limit the main points in a lecture to five or fewer.
  • Create effective visuals, analogies, demonstrations, and examples to reinforce the main points.
  • Share your outline with students.
  • Emphasize your objectives and key points in the beginning, as you get to them, and as a summary at the end.

Engage Your Audience

  • Focus attention early on using a quote, a dramatic visual, an anecdote, or other material relevant to the topic.
  • Integrate visuals, multimedia, discussion, active learning strategies, small-group techniques, and peer instruction.
  • Link new material to students’ prior knowledge, such as common experiences or previous coursework.
  • Show enthusiasm for the topic and information. Remember, you are modeling your discipline.
  • Give students time to think and genuine opportunities to respond.
  • Plan for diverse learners. Use verbal, visual, and kinesthetic approaches such as hands-on exercises and simulations.

Get Feedback

  • Observe students’ non-verbal communication: notetaking, response to questions, eye contact, seating patterns, and response to humor. Are they “with” you?
  • Use the “minute paper” or other assessment techniques. Ask students to respond in one or two sentences to the following questions:What stood out as most important in today’s lecture? What are you confused about? Do this every few lectures—it will take you about 15 minutes to review the responses and you’ll learn an enormous amount about your students.
  • Give quizzes periodically on lecture objectives, not obscure material. Are they getting it?
  • Conduct midterm teaching evaluations or simply ask the students for suggestions and comments at the midpoint of the quarter.

See Also

For further information about effective lecturing, including preparation, basic presentation skills, variety of presentation, and tips from other faculty, see:

Lecturing Guidelines

Preparing and Delivering the Lecture (1-hour talk by Lanier Anderson)

From Tomorrow's Professor:

How a Stanford Professor Liberates Large Lectures

Designing and Delivering Effective Lectures