Peter Filene’s five keys to a successful lecture

“How can you develop a lecture that will successfully engage your audience?

   “(1) Pose a question, either at the beginning or partway through the lecture. For example, ‘Why do the Balinese regard death with seeming lightheartedness?’

   To dramatise the question, you can embed it in a vignette. Find a quotation, an anecdote, a photograph, or some other type of vivid material that crystallizes the issue you’ll be exploring in the next hour.

   (2) But how will you satisfy those other students who work best by starting with general, abstract concepts? Either before or after the vignette, state (and write on the board) the significance of the question for the day. For example, help your students understand how the question relates to some larger question. (‘I’m using the Balinese cremation ceremonies as a case study to illustrate the ethic of relatedness that we discussed last week.’)

   (3) The best teachers go beyond simply ‘remember this.’ For example they compare two schools of thought on a subject. Or they work with evidence, analyzing and evaluating it, unfolding an interpretation, modeling how an anthropologist (philosopher, historian, etc.) works.

   (4) Offer your own answer, complete with evidence and conclusions. In other words, you are demonstrating the best way to deal with the question of the day. In some cases, this might take up most of the class hour.

   (5) Leave students with a question.”

Source: Filene, Peter. The Joy of Teaching : A Practical Guide for New College Instructors. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2005, 49-50.