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Dr. Daniel Beland

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2008/02/11 - 2:42pm.

Teaching Awards

Great teachers have well-organized courses. What steps do you take to organize your course to facilitate learning?

I spend much time preparing my lecture notes. In general, I have at least three pages of notes written down for every hour of lecture. This is partially due to the fact that English is not my mother tongue; I need a "safety net" before entering the classroom. More importantly, having well-prepared lecture notes at hand is a way to sketch my ideas in a coherent and predictable way. To help students, I distribute a fraction of my notes to them. Right from the beginning, students should have a clear idea of the content of every lecture. This is the best way to fight confusion and insecurity on the part of students. Yet, things should not become too predictable, and I never distribute all my notes to the students. They must show up in class in order to discover most of the material! Class discussions are the best way to engage students while making things less predictable. Striking a balance between organization and liveliness is one of the most important aspects of teaching! A well-organized lecture should never become boring.