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Teaching Note-Taking Skills: Choosing Good Lecture Material

Strategies | Organization | Practices & Assessment Ideas | Ideas for Presenting Lectures

Sources of Lecture Material:

There are a variety of sources a teacher can use for good lecture material:
  • ESL listening/speaking texts with sample lectures....There are several book series available on the market that contain pre-recorded lectures. The "Lecture Ready" series comes to mind. There's also a new series entitled "Keynote" (published by Cengage)that uses TED Talks as well as the Contemporary Topics series by Pearson.
  • PowerPoint format....This allows the teacher to control the content and organization [making assessment a little easier as well]. They also control the level of difficulty by simplifying the vocabulary choices, length, and amount of spoken verses written information for different skill levels. This format also allows the teacher to select more interesting or specialized topics than might be found in an ESL text book. Finally, this format also lends more authenticity to the practice as many college professors use PowerPoint to give their lectures these days.

  • White board format....Teachers can also go old school and give a lecture in which they write key information on the classroom white/chalk board. Again, with this format they can control the content and difficulty level while maintaining authenticity.
    The last two formats may seem intimidating to some teachers at first in that they have to put together the content of the lecture themselves. Not to worry; you can go back and dig out some of the notes you took in your own college classes {Most teachers are pack rats in this respect}, and use these notes to create a lecture...or you can base your lecture on some topic you already have knowledge about, maybe from a documentary you saw, or article you read....

    The rewards from making your own lecture materials are greater in the long term both for students in it's authenticity and degree of interest, and for the teacher in their ability to reuse the same lecture in subsequent semesters [refining and improving it each time]. Another benefit is the teacher's level of familiarity with the material/subject matter. They don't have to guess about the meaning of the information in the lecture as might be the case with using a lecture from an ESL text.

    * Special Note: One final point worth mentioning is that it's a good idea to increase the amount of information given orally while decreasing that given in written form within a note-taking lecture as the skill level of students increases.

    Up Next... Organizing notes

    page last modified: November 16, 2016

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