A classic challenge for the lecturers is how to fit all relevant material into the timeframe of a short class period, not to mention a short semester. When a student makes an insightful point that would take the class in a new direction, instructors must decide: Do I go on a worthwhile tangent to address the student’s point, or do I proceed as I had planned? In this video, Brett Flehinger shares why he allows student contributions to shape the path a class takes and how he makes strategic adjustments on the fly.
Brett Flehinger, Lecturer on History
American Populisms: From Thomas Jefferson to the Tea Party + Trump
Fall 2016, 38 students
- Prior to class, create a lecture plan segmented into parts with time estimates so you are aware if one part of your lecture is running long or moving more quickly than expected
- Aim for middle ground between blazing ahead with an iron fist and ceding control to any tangent that surfaces. A lecture too tightly planned may feel stilted or inauthentic, while a lecture that follows any student interest may feel incoherent or frustrating for students.
- Predetermine points in your lecture where open discussion may be advantageous. Some topics, when discussed, will lead to deeper understanding, whereas others might not require such conversation.
- In “Teaching by the Case Method: Timing”, Harvard Business School professors reflect on how they create flexible plans and adjust timing on the fly
- In another Instructional Moves video, Christina “V” Villarreal discusses how she uses guiding questions to make strategic choices about how to prioritize class time