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Welcome to 'Finishing my lecture'.
The topic is designed in a 'Frequently Asked Questions' (FAQ) style. It is envisaged that any academic staff member at Deakin who is interested in reflecting on his or her lecturing work, may find some useful ideas within the questions and answers included in this topic. Whether it be a lecturer new to lecturing at Deakin or at university, or someone who is just curious, we have included a broad range of issues for consideration within this topic, and the accompanying other five topics in this suite of materials about effective face-to-face lecturing.
At the end of this topic you should be able to:
Finishing your lecture effectively is as important as beginning it well. Students appreciate structure in lectures, and briefly reviewing what the lecture was about, helps students develop their understanding of your unit.
Finishing your lecture strongly gives a sense of your authority and competence to students, and can assist them to see how the topic of your lecture fits into the overall unit structure. Students who recognise your competence are likely to keep attending your future lectures as they perceive them to be well organised and delivered.
Remaining behind after lecture gives students a great opportunity to chat with you in an informal sense, and for you to demonstrate the interest in them that they appreciate.
The emphasis of this topic is on effectively concluding your lecture so that a sense of closure is created amongst your students.
We hope that the ideas discussed in this topic offer some assistance to you in developing your role as an effective teacher at Deakin. If you wish to investigate other issues relating to your teaching at Deakin, then you can contact academic staff at the Institute of Teaching and Learning.
Q1: How long should a lecture go for?
Q2: Should I ever finish a lecture early?
Q3: What should I do when I'm running out of time in presenting my subject matter?
Q4: How should I bring a lecture to a conclusion?
Q5: What can I do to effectively bring a lecture to a conclusion in regard to the subject matter?
Q6: What administrative matters should I deal with at the end of a lecture?
Q7: Should I spend some time after the lecture is ended outside the venue in dealing informally with student questions?
Q8: How should I learn from the completed lecture in preparing for the next one?
You need to remember that teaching requires a professional approach, and that you set standards by your own example. You are paid to teach and students pay sometimes substantial amounts for their education. They are entitled to expect good 'service', as like it or not, we are now operating in a more client satisfaction based environment. Students are entitled to believe they will be well educated at university.
However, it would be wrong to say that you never finish a lecture early! There may be occasions where issues arise which cause you to finish before the scheduled end time. These should be the exception rather than the rule though.
For example, you don't time your delivery well and get through the content too quickly. Or you have misjudged the amount of content you thought you needed. Or the technology in the lecture room fails you and you need to alter your medium of presentation. Or you become physically unwell.
The professional teacher reflects on how well s/he is performing and adjusts so that in future an early finish doesn't become the norm. Whilst some students may think it is great to get out of your Lecture early, many may well feel cheated if such a practice becomes ongoing.
Well prepared teachers have 'backup' activities or examples for use in times when they finish early. It can be a good opportunity to work through problems with students.
Also, it is worth getting to know the administration staff and treat them as the equals they are - they will be able to help you an enormous amount work out how the university/faculty/school operates and they will know what is good behaviour for academics and what is not good behaviour. They can help out with equipment, keys, a working photocopier, how to ask for things and where to get funding for projects. In return, do not miss their deadlines or make it so they miss their deadlines. Know how the dependencies work in the university - it helps make sense of why things have to be done when they have to be done.
There are several options for you to consider.
These suggestions tend to be based on the assumption that lectures are well prepared and lecturers are confident with the subject. If you happen to be lecturing in a Unit which uses shared lecture slides and notes, it is important to be familiar and confident with them before your lecture.
In your first lecture of semester, reinforce that the lecture is over once you have finished speaking, not when the students decide it is over.
If using PowerPoint, prior to projecting the last slide, make any summaries or announcements you need to - e.g. thank the students for their attention, preview next week's topic - then display the final slide.
Making the content of the last slide 'important' conditions the students to how you conclude your lectures.
Make sure that you make any announcements before you display the last of your lecture slides, as once students see that it is 'the end', they will evacuate very quickly. Once one or two make a move, the rest soon follow!
Some lecturers make their administrative announcements in the middle of the lecture, or before the 5minute break in long lectures. This way they have their attention and the late comers/early leavers do not miss out.
Matters may include:
A definite and strong finish to your lecture has the effect of reinforcing structure to students. They were informed by your beginning of what the objectives for the lecture were. You have delivered the content. You now reinforce the content by your strong finish.
The 'sandwich' approach, or as some say - 'tell them what you are about to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you have just told them' - can be a strong reinforcer to learning.