Lecturing Creatively

Research by Brookfield (2006, pg. 102) shows that students find lectures helpful if the have the following traits:

  1. They use a mix of teaching and communication approaches;
  2. They are organized in a way so that students can follow the lecturer’s train of thoughts;
  3. They model learning behaviours.

I would like to focus on the second trait, since I often find that students are lost during my lectures and my own organization may be to blame. Brookfield (2006, pg. 106) mentions that scaffolding notes can help overcome the difficulty of disorganized lectures. I have used scaffolding notes when teaching business mathematics, where I provided students with most of the notes, but not the examples. I found these notes effective for student learning, however I could have scaled back the number of examples and included more theory for students to fill in. Some ideas to implement could be fill in the blanks (word or phrases), and short answer questions.

The following website provides a Word document with a great example of how scaffolding notes could be used for teaching presentation skills. I like this approach as the scaffolding notes are a separate document to the lecture notes. The PowerPoint slides could be on the overhead and the students would have their scaffolding notes in front of them. At appropriate times, the instructor could pause and allow students time to answer the questions in their notes. I think this would be a very effective method to use in my management information systems class.


Brookfield, S. D. (2006). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom (Second ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


About simoncrothers

I am an Australian who moved to British Columbia, Canada with my family in 1998. After completing my undergraduate degree in mathematics and computing science at Simon Fraser University, I moved back to Australia for several years. During this time I completed a Masters in Computational Mathematics and began my teaching career in mathematics at the University of New South Wales. In 2010, I moved back to Canada and taught computer science at Douglas College for three years. I am currently regular faculty in the Computer Business Systems department at KPU. I have also taught some courses in the Business and Quantitative Methods department at KPU. In my spare time I like to spend time with my wife Jami, who I met in Australia, our three year old daughter Lillian, and our newly born son Aiden. I also like to indulge in the occasional video game and I am involved in various self-employed web development projects.
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