Top 5 Tips for Teaching Content Classes, Minus the Lecture and PPT Death

Teaching Content Classes-Avoid PPT Death

PPT Death Screens

When I walk by the open classroom doors of some lecturers at my university, I can see the PPT screens of death. 12 point font with full-sentences and no titles or subtitles.

What is the main point of all that gibberish?  Who could possibly tell. 

Lecture Death Style

This is often combined with a teacher standing at the computer, either reading word for word from said slide or from the textbook. It really and truly does seem like death, like my heart rate and brain activity would slowly be in decline, until I eventually went comatose.

Almost all the students in these classes are either sleeping or using their phone.

My Semester of Content Teaching

This semester, I’m all about teaching content classes since I have advanced writing for English majors and English presentations and interviews. My goal is to always avoid the PPT/Lecture death since I’m all about the student-centered classrooms. Read on for my tips on teaching content classes, minus the lecture and PowerPoint death.

Want to know how you can get a university job in South Korea? How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams

Top 5 Tips for teaching Content Classes

1. PPT=Simple

Simple!!! Then make your slides even simpler. Main points only! ONLY! Refer students to the relevant pages in the textbook for more information. Make your slides available online so students can just pay attention and listen and not worry about taking notes.

Start simple and make it even simpler.

2. Never Read Word for Word

People can read much faster than you can speak. If I have a page or two in the textbook I want students to absorb, I’ll throw up 4 or 5 question on a slide and then, I’ll give them 6-10 minutes (depending on density and difficulty) to read the passage and then think about answers to the questions.  After that, students close their books and do the little “test” with a partner. Finally, I very briefly hit the main points and answer any questions.

People read faster than you can talk.

3. Variety of Activities 

I do the reading on your own/answer questions with a partner as previously mentioned.  I also use a million and one other things, such as group discussion, doing an exercise in the book and then discussing the answers in a group, standing up and finding a new partner to talk about something, warm-up discussion questions, watching a video and talking about it, worksheets, etc.

The sky is the limit in terms of what you can do besides lecture.

4.Test what you Teach

If students know they have to know whatever you’re teaching them for a test, they’ll have  A LOT more incentive to pay attention.

Test what you teach!
5. Make your Classes Unpredictable

Make announcements each class, but at random times, sometimes the beginning, sometimes the end. Throw out a serious test hint every couple of classes. Don’t give answers to every single exercise students do. Predictability breeds apathy.

Keep student on their toes.

Results from Jackie’s Content Classes

In my classes, nobody sleeps. Like maybe out of 20 teaching hours, I’ll have one sleepy student who can’t keep their eyes open. I quite rarely notice anyone sneaking out for smoke or excessive bathroom breaks, etc.  Very few students are on their phones. Sure, some students look bored sometimes, but that’s par for the course since I feel no need to be an edu-tainer. Maybe looking bored means they’re actually focusing. Who knows. What I do sincerely hope is this:

My students are actually learning something, at least more than what they’re learning when they’re sleeping in their other classes

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