College Lectures: Staying Focused

April 16, 2014

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Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In large universities, lecture classes are practically unavoidable; students are sure to participate in them at least once during their college career. Lecture classes are often comprised of up to 100 students if not more, and depending on your university, they usually include instruction for 60-90 minutes. Since the class size is much larger than one classroom full of students, it can be difficult for professors to keep their students’ attention and ensure that the material is retained. Additionally, because lecture classes are so large, students often feel that they can escape participation and bury their heads behind their notebooks – but what good is that? As a college professor, it’s your job to make the material exciting and keep your students’ focused. To help you design and plan your lectures, we’ve collected a few tips that can help you keep your students engaged:

1. Make Students Comfortable: It’s important to begin the semester by making your students comfortable with you, their surroundings and their classmates. Start by introducing yourself and then encourage students to take a few minutes to talk to one another. This way, you break the ice between you and your students, which is likely to encourage participation throughout the year.

2. Make Attendance A Priority: It’s no surprise that students are motivated by good grades, so make it clear that attendance will be incorporated into their final grade. Students often believe that professors won’t know if they are missing since the class is so large, so create a system where you can quickly, yet carefully, check students in each day in order to keep track of who is present.

3. Use Different Teaching Methods: Although lecture classes are primarily ones where the professor stands in front of the room and lectures their students for a given time period, it has been found that mixing up teaching styles is more effective. Make an effort to incorporate visuals such as photos or videos into your lecture, and designate at least one class where students can engage in hands on activities. By using these methods, students are less likely to lose focus and you’ll find that coming to class is even more enjoyable for you!

4. Use Your Personality: Students tend to respond better to professors that are enthusiastic, funny and dedicated to the subject matter. Instead of standing at the front of the room using a monotone delivery style, use your personality to keep students engaged. Try to make your classes entertaining and exciting; in doing so, you create a better learning environment causing students to look forward to class.

For more tips on how to design an effective lecture, click here.

While good teaching methods are essential in keeping students focused during a lecture, the design of your lecture room also plays an important role. At Nickerson Corporation, we believe that your lecture room’s seating is directly related to student success. Therefore, we’ve partnered with the industry’s top manufacturers to supply lecture room seating that is comfortable, works well with your space and gives all students a clear view of the front of the room. Additionally, select products include seating with built in electrical outlets for students who need to charge electronic devices such as computers and tablets that aid in the learning process.

If your university has plans for renovations this summer, consider updating your lecture room seating to improve the learning experience for your students. For more information, call us at 631-666-0200.