New Teachers: Conference Tips That Will Keep Students Interested

You have all seen the Charlie Brown episode where the teacher is lecturing and all the students hear is “wa wa wa wa wa wa”. We remember seeing it when we were children. Unfortunately, seeing this as children taught us that this is what school was like. Now, as we are adult teachers, we are in constant fear of becoming Charlie Brown’s teachers. Well, what if we could avoid this? What if we could use this knowledge to create inspiring and organized conferences using Best Practices? I have developed 6 tips to help you create fun and memorable lectures that will leave your students with lasting knowledge.

1. Create a goal. We have heard this before from our administrators. We often hear this when administrators come to observe us in the classroom. Write your goal on the board! Say it at the beginning of class! Say it at the end of class! Well, they are right! By telling students what to learn and why they are learning, they will be more willing to pay attention and remember what you are talking about. It will also help them think about what they should be writing about.

2. Get your students to do something productive. Your students shouldn’t just be sitting there. If you are involved in best practices, your students should be doing something active with their learning while listening to your lecture. Most of the time, this means they will need to take notes. But give them structure. Maybe this means notes from Cornell or maybe they are powerful notes. It’s your call!

3. Break it. Divide your reading into different segments. I would say no more than 4 or 5. This way, those who have difficulty processing large amounts of information will be able to more easily compartmentalize what you are telling them.

4. Separate the sections with different activities. Throughout your lecture, interrupt your conversation by having students do different activities. For example, have students turn to a close partner and repeat the 5 main parts of the lecture they have heard so far. Doing this will help them remember why they are actively participating.

5. Have them repeat through questions. While lecturing, don’t just talk. Question your students. Ask them about different background knowledge that they will know information about. Taking advantage of this will help them to be successful in acquiring new knowledge.

6. Wrap it up effectively. At the end of your lecture, ask your students to do something with the information. Maybe it’s a quick little quiz on the board. They may write a paragraph summary.

Regardless of what you are reading, be sure to follow these 6 tips to keep your students actively engaged. This will increase your awareness and participation. There is no Charlie Brown effect here!

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