The main thing I took from the article “How do they conduct class?” is the importance of getting students actively involved in class. There isn’t necessarily one right way of encouraging active learning; the teacher could use a “traditional” lecture style, moderate discussions, assign group work, etc. The main thing seems to be to encourage students to think critically, whether that is as part of a lecture, group discussion, or class project. To do so the instructor needs to quickly get the attention of the students and keep them involved.
The question then is how do we try to make sure that we get the students’ attention and keep it? How do we make sure that the students are actively involved? The article talks about how many professors try to quickly get their students attention by starting class with a “provocative” question. I personally am struggling at the moment to think of what might be called a provocative question related to one of my presentations, but regardless there seem to be some fairly clear ways of keeping the class actively involved in the session. We can frequently ask questions of the group, get them involved in coming up with keywords or search terms, have them work in groups in order to build searches, etc.
The last thing I took from this article was how even experienced teachers practice at being an instructor in order to get better at what they’re doing. Some videotape their own sessions, some practice in front of a mirror, and some simply spend a few minutes before class going over what they want to get across to their students. I was a bit surprised by that in some ways; I’ve had some teachers that seemed so relaxed and at ease as instructors that I have a hard time imagining them practicing their enunciation before class. But it does make sense, there are inevitably going to be people that are more naturally gifted teachers than you, but you can always work at improving the way you do things in class.