We've all sat, or possibly slept, through them. The agonizing lecture that drones on forever - or 50 to 80 minutes depending on the day. Even more mind-numbing are the lectures where the professor reads what's on the power point slides. Worse yet, everything on the slides is directly from the textbook. UUUUGGGGHHHH! You daydream, time and evaluate the professor's water intake, start keeping track of the number of shirts the professor has - does she ever wear the same one?, or visually measure how much armpit sweat stain is progressing along the professors sleeves and wondering if it will start dripping when it gets to the end of the sleeve. If you can get away with it, your phone is your lifeline, because there, in that small little box, is life - social life. You text friends who are also attempting to survive through a lecture, you check out Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Yik Yak, and whatever else catches your eye. Then, all of a sudden, you realize everyone is staring at you! Oh crap! The professor asked you a question. You have no idea what that question was so you politely ask the professor to repeat the question while you sheepishly put your phone away. One tiny break in the lecture and she had to single out you. Then it's back to the same droning voice of someone who appears to really like this subject, but has no idea how to teach it.
This was my typical undergraduate and graduate school experience. Sometimes I had the professor who would have us sit around a table and all through his lecture he would tap all his fingers on one hand on the table at once like he was repeatedly trying to pick something up without using the palm of his hand.
Another professor talked about Art History in a way that made me want to destroy all art in the world so I never had to hear about it again! Yet, another professor talked about geography as if he hated his field and could care less about where or why everything was geographically located in the world.
I promised myself, if I ever got a chance to teach, I would never do the boring lecture! Then I become a direct instructor as a graduate student. Guess what - I lectured and used power points and was one of those boring people I couldn't stand. I didn't have the time to develop my own activities, discussions, or projects. My focus was my research and dissertation. Teaching was simply a way for me to get my tuition waved and get some experience before applying for faculty positions. There was little to no oversight of what I did or how I did it.
When I started at Emporia State University, faculty had the opportunity to learn innovative ways in which to teach. I was introduced to a multitude of ways in which to enhance lectures. This is when I started to develop my first revolutionary idea - no more lectures! Sure, sometimes the material requires that I talk to students about a topic for an extended period of time, but this isn't textbook material. These talks are additional pieces of applied material to help enhance the learning they are already supposed to have started by reading the textbook, which is a whole other revolution in and of itself!
I want my students engaged in the classroom. I want it to be so interesting that they don't care about what's going on in their social world online. I want them to "hate" missing my class. I want them to learn! Granted, not all class periods are knocked out of the park because it takes both me and students to be successful. I won't get every student engaged and interested, but I will do my best to get as many as I can!