The basics
Study abroad : Career Prospects

What makes a good lecturer?

Do you have what it takes to be a good lecturer? Use these tips to improve your teaching skills.

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Do you have a strong interest to teach students at university? It might be your career goal or perhaps you’re undertaking a PhD where you will be expected to teach. Either way, we’ve got some top tips to help you find your inner teacher.

 

Engage from the beginning

The first five minutes of your lecture provides a golden opportunity to get your students to sit up and pay attention. Start with the obvious, introduce yourself, explain your objectives for the lecture and outline the learning outcomes. If you begin with great passion and enthusiasm, then your students are more likely to engage from the outset.

 

Spark curiosity

Your introduction needs to engage, excite, challenge, and create expectations so add in some interesting facts in the beginning. Scan the room after the first few minutes to gain a good indication of how engaged the students are.

 

Consider your framework

When preparing lectures, consider the sequencing of your material and make sure it’s presented in a clear and logical manner. The pace should be well controlled so that you are able to move through the material, keeping students engaged throughout.

 

Preparing is everything

The planning process is important, so you have to be fully confident about the content, structure and delivery of the material before you begin. You won’t thank yourself for forgetting to prepare as you stare at the blank faces in front of you.

 

Use visual aids

With technology, lectures have revolutionised. Visual aids like educational videos that convey information in a powerful manner can be used to increase understanding and to develop interests. Students also appreciate online materials that they can access outside of class, so remember to send these round after class via email.

 

Avoid jargon

There’s nothing more likely to disengage an audience than endless jargon and abbreviations. If you’re lecturing a specialist subject, don’t assume that students will understand. Make lectures as accessible as possible to encourage better understanding.

 

Stay organised

As a lecturer, your time will be split between teaching, marking, class preparation, administration, and research. To keep on top of this, it’s vital that you have good organisation skills. Make sure your office space is tidy and that your days are scheduled so that you can get everything done. Similarly, you should also keep a record of your work such as grades and markings so that you can find what you need at a later date.

 

Work on presentation style

Good lecturing is a process of continuous improvement with presentation style. You can be animated without being theatrical. Avoid fidgeting and keep body language strong and confident. With some lectures lasting 2-3 hours, your students will struggle to stay engaged so its up to you to keep them focused. Try small breaks in between long lectures to break up the time and use your presence and voice to keep the class engaged.

 

Watch your tone of voice

Make sure that you vary the intonation of your voice during lectures. Use humour and conversational tone to help maintain attention. It can help to record your voice before your first lecture or ask friends and family for feedback. You also want to make sure that you are comfortable speaking in front of people and maintaining eye contact with the audience. Having experience of public speaking will really help you here, particularly when it comes to slowing down your speech so that students can clearly understand your points.

 

Strive to remember names

This may be a challenge but remembering students’ names will help build relationships when asking questions. This will also help when marking papers and bonding with your students.

 

Remember discipline

Although you will be teaching young adults and there shouldn’t be too much need for strict rules or stern words, its important that your students respect you and your time. Make sure that students are facing the front, paying attention, and taking notes.

 

Strive for continuous improvement

A lecturer’s learning process never stops. There are new materials and research papers being published every day and with new technology, a lot of industries are changing at a fast rate. Keep yourself updated with the latest news and approaches so that you can teach students what the industry needs.

 

Many lecturing roles require at least masters level education. You can use our course matcher tool to quickly find a course and university tailored to your preferences.

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