Incorporate 'breaks' into your lectures

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During lecture, it is hard to maintain a student's attention. In fact, it's been shown that a student's attention to lecture is substantially lost after about 10 minutes. A way to overcome this hurdle is to 'take a break' or wait time about every 10 minutes of lecture. This 'break' refers to doing something that re-engages the student and gets him/her ready for another 10 minutes of lecture. In an economics classroom, one can incorporate 'breaks' in several ways. 'Breaks' will not only ensure the student pays attention for the entire lecture and therefore gets the most out of it, but also allow the instructor to troubleshoot any content areas.

Ideas for incorporating 'breaks' into lecture:

  • Ask students to jot down a rough outline of lecture every 10 minutes. This will not only force students to pay attention and ensure you their full attention for the following 10 minutes, but also allow you to gage where they are having trouble.
  • Every 10 minutes of lecture, have a 5-minute question session where students ask questions, but where you ask students questions too. This will keep their attention during lecture.
  • Have students discuss lecture with their neighbors for a 3-5 minute period every 10 minutes of lecture.

Click here for other teaching/studying tips for the economics classroom.

Source: Bligh, Donald A. What's the Use of Lectures? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000. Print.