In this section we review strategies for classroom activities. Here the emphasis is on the day-to-day basics, while the more creative activities that one does occasionally are covered in other tabs. We focus on three main activities:
- Lectures are sometimes overused, but they have their place in an introductory course. Here we focus on techniques for giving effective lectures.
- Structuring your Lecture. You can also shape your lecture by paying attention to the flow of events that provide a shape to your lecture.
- Using PowerPoint. PowerPoint has fans and detractors, but if you are going to use it you might review these tips and best practices.
- Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATS). Most of us are used to giving tests and quizzes, but some educational experts are now advocating greater use of ungraded exercises, both as a way of helping the faculty member know what students have learned and as a way of getting students more engaged in what is happening in the classroom.
- Peer Instruction (PI) is a "hybrid" technique that combines lectures, group work, and interactive student feedback with clickers or other low-tech polling methods. It has been used effectively in science and mathematics but also has many potential applications in philosophy.
- Clickers (student responses devices) are a new electronic system for incorporating student feedback and interaction, especially in large lecture classes. Your school is probably already using them in science classes, and they are very easy to incorporate into philosophy classes as well.
- Discussion classes are particularly appropriate in philosophy courses, and this section gives some hints about how to facilitate discussion. There are also questions about whether class participation should be graded and, if so, by what criteria.
- Group work can be a valuable part of a class, but must be done well if it is to make valuable use of time; we offer some examples.
- We offer a few suggestions for how to deal with problems raised by students using laptops in class.
Author: John Immerwahr
Updated: May 17, 2010