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Does anyone else need extensive notes to successfully deliver a lecture?

(7 Posts)
KeepingHeadAboveWater Mon 26-Sep-16 22:04:32

I am so verbally inarticulate that I can't be trusted to give a lecture without extensive (but carefully concealed - I hope) notes.

I casually look at them out of the corner of my eye, but if someone were to take them away, it'd be a disaster. (And before you say I just need to get rid of them, I've tried. Whenever I go off piste my verbal inarticulacy rears its head and it's just not a great experience for me or the students - trust me.)

Please tell me I'm not alone.

I look at my colleagues and I don't see anyone else (much) with this problem.

It doesn't make any difference how long (or short) the lecture is, or how well I seem to know the subject matter.

Why am I so verbally useless?

I am starting to think maybe I'm just dense sad

KeepingHeadAboveWater Mon 26-Sep-16 22:27:31

NB. If there are any reformed verbally useless people with tips about how to become better, I would Iove to hear!

I don't think I'll ever be the next Mary Beard or Brian Cox with my own tv show - just getting through a lecture without copious if furtively hidden notes would be the dream!

forkhandles4candles Mon 26-Sep-16 22:42:29

Have been doing it for decades and still need copious notes.....or even a script. sorry can't help!

KeepingHeadAboveWater Mon 26-Sep-16 22:52:28

Fork that's reassuring and worrying in equal measure smile

Have you ever wondered why it is that you're (we're) like this?

There is one particular lecture that I've given twice a year for six years - and I still need detailed notes! It baffles me.

I try to do a good job of pretending I'm not looking at my notes (which also verge on script-like, which I try my darnedest to conceal) but I absolute am looking and indeed am hanging onto them for dear life.

What confuses me is why I'm not able to think on my feet?

amazonianinside Tue 27-Sep-16 11:27:13

Me! I absolutely rely on my notes, and the closer they are to a script, the better. I think I'm OK at delivering the lecture as though I'm not using the notes though, so it's not as if I'm reading a paper out loud or anything. If I didn't have detailed notes I would be utterly lost and helpless. In my defence (rationalising this for myself), I have been teaching for a few years now, but the subject I teach is not the subject in which I did my degree or PhD, and I have never taught the same course twice, which is a total pain in the arse. So I am constantly playing catch-up, one step ahead of the students. It's terrifying really. I don't know why I worry though as I team teach one course with a professor of great maturity, esteem and general excellence whose lectures are fluent and entertaining and wonderful and definitely no notes. However, when I come to take seminars, and mark essays and exams, it always turns out that the students have retained hardly one word of any part of the course, whether taught by me or by him. shock So I conclude that in this case, excellent lectures or mediocre to middling lectures, play little role in the students' overall learning outcomes! wink

fluffikins Tue 27-Sep-16 13:43:35

I hate notes as when I have them I end up worrying that I've not said everything in them or stumble over my words as I try to keep to script.

My advice is to try without any notes at all and make your slides REALLY simple, that way whatever you say is adding content. So sometimes I'll just put a picture up and talk around it for a few minutes. That way you sound really knowledgable compared to if all the stuff you've just said is up on the slide.

They key for me is to know that I am more knowledgeable than my audience so it may take some time but when you feel like you've got all the content mastered in your own head it'll come more easily.

Generally I assume the audience is full of lots of my mums. I then explain everything as I would to my mum and it usually turns out fine.

Perhaps you're trying to fill the lecture with too much content? Generally, explaining one theory really well is far more beneficial than going through 5 theories. That only serves to confuse everyone and your students will lack the depth of knowledge required

Closetlibrarian Wed 28-Sep-16 12:18:23

I used to need detailed notes, now far less so. So I suppose confidence that comes with experience helps.

I also agree that well-crafted PP slides can help alleviate the need for notes. I usually tend to have a few one-word bullet points that I talk around. Or things like quotes/ names/ dates/ places (things that I always forget). If I know the material really well, then that's usually enough of a prompt to get me prattling on...

And completely agree on keeping it simple. I find students take in perhaps one or two key points from a lecture, and only if it's been hammered home. If you try to get too nuanced they often take away the wrong end of the stick (this is in the humanities)

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