Making the most out of a bad lecture.

At my high school, classes all seemed to be basic with really traditional teachers. Who taught well thought out lesson plans, with clearly important information. Most of the teachers had been teaching their materiel for many years now and had really known what they were talking about. That is not always the case in college. Don’t get me wrong some of my professors have taught as SSU for thirty years now, and their lectures seem to fly by. However some of my professors are just becoming teachers, and consequently some lectures  aren’t always what I am expecting. Someone once told me, “You haven’t really figured out how to properly teach material, until you have lectured on it five times.” So you very well may be the first college level class your professor is teaching, and maybe they haven’t hit their stride yet. In addition you might not be used to the plethora of different teaching styles that all your new professors are throwing at you. This can all be really overwhelming in one lecture that only lasts for an hour and fifteen minutes.

In all truth, a lecture can go bad for so many different reasons. If your professor is a rambler, if they don’t have a clear lesson plan, if a class is too chatty or even not chatty enough a good discussion can be ruined. There are a lot of elements in the classroom setting that you will have no control over, but there are a few things that I always do to try to make the most out of my lecture time. I always take notes, no matter what. Whether there are slides or the professor is talking, chances are that something they say or write on the board will be on a test. So you might want to write it down.  Also I would print out any slide presentation that your professor may have put on canvas, that way you can take additional notes directly on the slides. Furthermore if your professor is not integrating the slides into his or her lecture, you will have a hard copy to follow along with. By actively following along with the information presented by the professor, you might actually learn something you weren’t expecting. While laptops are useful and fun, I tend to notice my attention drifting in the wrong direction when I bring mine to a lecture. Facebook and Twitter may be way more interesting than a boring lecture, but if you made the choice to go to class you might as well pay attention and not tempt yourself.

Lastly the best this to do in a bad lecture is to be vocal. This might take a bit of guts, and will take a little time before you feel comfortable doing so. But I have found that talking in a bad lecture or really any lecture, makes the whole class more integrated and helps the time pass more fluidly. Personally I am pursuing a Sociology minor, and I am taking my first elective this semester. At first I was really intimidated by all the comments my professor and peers were making, and I kind of dreaded going to class. However I starting talking to my peers before class, and by getting to know a lot of them it made me feel way more comfortable sharing my thoughts. Now instead of just showing up to call and listening, I am actually actively participating and feel like I am fully understanding the material through the discussions. Another one of my classes this semester is a major required math course. In the first few weeks of the semester, my professor would just read the information of the slides and move on. No one would say anything all class, and no questions would be asked. As we moved in to more difficult material I decided one day to start asking a ton of questions in class to see if it would change things. My over-asking one day seemed to jump start the class’s participation, because now in lecture the whole class along with myself asks questions, and the class in now way more manageable. By taking small steps in your own advancement of learning, you may help a whole class to improve its  efficiency and environment during lecture.

-Megan

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