Ineffective teaching isn’t teaching
I’ve been thinking about the benefits to teachers or trainers of making their presentations more effective. Clearly for sales people it’s about winning more business, more profitably with less effort, but what about if you are not selling? I know, it’s a strange concept for someone like me who finds it difficult to open his mouth without pitching something, a project, an idea, or a joke but its true some people have to teach.
So why would you want your presentations to be more effective if you are teaching? Better attention from your students, higher levels of engagement, better levels of comprehension, shorter lecture times. Or how about a more erudite approach:
“Less extraneous cognitive load increases the students available free cognitive load for information synthesis thus allowing better and faster building of schema necessarily increasing information retention and recall”
But the thought train led me to recall the best lecture I have ever had. Professor Smith at Nottingham University in September 1987 gave a lecture on standard distribution.. I know I didn’t want to go either but.. he started by having an orderly bring an armchair in the lecture theatre and said it was for later (Visual Cognitive Dissonance ™ at work dear reader, we all listened ) and then said he had two proofs to show us and proceeded to show us a premise and through a process of Induction (one type of mathematical proof the other principal one being Direct) and 6 chalkboards of equations that ended in the proof with a large QED written next to it.. “et voila” he said.. 45 mins into a 50 min lecture.
“Everybody got that?” He said and then rubbed out all but the first and last lines and said “and now for proof number two, For this you will need an armchair”, he pointed, “and a large brandy” which he revealed from under the counter, he sat in the chair took a sip of brandy and said.. “After an hour or so of contemplation like thus.. you will in actual fact discover that the conclusion is entirely obvious.. class dismissed..”
OMG.. Best lecturer I have ever seen and the best lecture I have ever seen and makes me think that actually the question ‘So why would you want your presentations to be more effective if you are teaching?’
Is the wrong one, it should be:
So why wouldn’t you want your presentations to be more effective if you are teaching?
And the answer is:
“After an hour or so of contemplation like thus.. you will in actual fact discover that the conclusion is entirely obvious.. class dismissed..”
Ineffective teaching is an oxymoron.. or perhaps the practice of morons!