by Mary Bridget Kustusch

Although the lectures in a paradigms classroom tend to be shorter and happen less often than in a more traditional middle-division course, there is still a role for them. So, how does one appropriately frame a lecture for the students in order for them to get the most out of it, especially in an class that is highly interactive?

Interactive Lecture

Probably the most ideal situation is to make the lecture interactive through various types of SWBQs and class questions. Also, asking students for the next piece is a good way to keep them involved.

Just in Time Lecture

One of the ways that we have seen work well is to use an activity to interest the students. Give them a task that allows them to wrestle with the key issues so that when you present a more organized and logical discussion of the task, the students have a vested interest and probably much better questions.

A good example of this (11/02/2011) is the electric field and electrostatic potential of a ring compare and contrast activity. Students have worked through this problem in groups and then by clearly summarizing the problem, they see all of the steps that they had to do presented in a logical fashion. Also, by having each group present their results for the various cases, you can discuss the similarities and differences in a way that starts from work that they have already done.

Explicit Framing

If you intend to do a fairly long lecture for a specific purpose, such as demonstrating a long derivation, it may be helpful to be explicit about what you are doing and why. This is probably much more important in a less traditional classroom (e.g. a studio classroom) and especially if you are far enough into the course where students do not expect this kind of lecture.

  • 10/31/2011: an example of where this kind of explicit framing could have been helpful.
  • 11/10/2011: an example of where this kind of explicit framing was used.
Impact of classroom design

In the fall of 2011, the paradigms were taught in two classrooms with very different classroom designs, one of which is a studio classroom.

  • 9/28/2011: interactive lecture in 212
  • 9/30/2011: dead room in 304
  • 10/04/2011: interactive lecture in 304
  • 10/31/2011: dead room in 212

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