How to write a lecture: Principles for teaching
For a few years now I’ve been refining a single page ‘pedagogical principles’ document. When I write any presentation, especially lectures, these are the things that I try to keep in mind. I keep a copy on my office wall to remind me of what I need to do.
1) Can the audience do something new when they leave the lecture/course that they could not have done intuitively (at all or as effectively)?
2) Can the audience express the lecture/course’s practical use to someone who has not taken the lecture/course or to someone who is resistant to the lecture/course?
- A practical problem and the summarised argument.
- How the problem+argument fit into the course’s theme and overall argumentative stake in the field.
- History/theory/skills as solution to the problem.
- Theoretical/position pieces should be matched with empirical or historical exemplars. These should be presented as a stake—a positioned answer to a positioned question.
- Present counterfactuals, especially to intuitive understandings.
- Summary of knowledge and skills for which audience is accountable.
These principles owe a lot to my teachers and mentors over the years, specifically (in no order):
- Anita Pomerantz
- Teri Harrison
- Bob Sanders
- Jeff Pittam
- Joan Mulholland
- Sue McKay