The Lecture

I feel as if I have sat through many lectures through years of undergraduate courses, many CEU’s, diabetes symposiums and guest speakers at events. I can remember a few instructors that I thoroughly enjoyed in hygiene school but at this point in life I can not recall one that I would consider to be the best lecture I’ve ever attended.  And when I try to recall a CE course that I have taken, I can remember ones that I enjoyed but none that I would say was the most fantastic lecture. However, I can recall a diabetes educational course that I attended a few months after I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which would have been about 10 years ago. It was held at the University of Findlay in a large room and was attended by many physicians, endocrinologists, nurses, patients and family members with diabetes.  CE credit was offered to those who needed it. The speaker was past Miss America, Nicole Johnson. She discussed her life being a type 1 diabetic, her role as Miss America, her relationship with people after her diagnosis, her diabetic friendly cookbook and then lots of information about her diet, including nutrition recommendations and lifestyle changes. She had a power point presentation with little information on it, and gave a handout for everyone to follow. I remember that she did not stand behind a podium but walked throughout the meeting room and was extremely personable. What stands out the most to me was all of her personal experiences that she included, her exciting personality, her eye contact and her ability to share many different emotions. She cried with us and laughed and there was never a dull moment because everyone in the room was so interested in what she was going to share next

She had been traveling around sharing all of her information to thousands and I’m sure even if I went to every single of one of her lecture, I would continued to enjoy it. She was never boring and I don’t believe her presentation would ever become stagnant to the crowd. She made the crowd feel as if she was talking to each individual.  I would love to hear her lecture again because she was a quality speaker.

This assignment has made me wonder what I can do to become a better educator and provide memorable lectures to future students. I think its important to get confidence, share clinical or real life experiences, walk around more and really interact with the students more. The current didactic course that I teach in the fall semester is a 2 hour lecture based class.  The chapter reading has opened my eyes more that if I am lecturing all 2 hours, that the students are no way retaining everything that I have said. I cant expect them to not get bored or drift off after the first 30 minutes of class. I really hope that I can find ways to change the pace of the lecture material and interact with the students more. We do have the clickers at Owens and I have been encouraged to utilize them, however have not. There also are a few classrooms on campus that have smart-boards, and once again I have never tried to get one of those classrooms due to their location. However, I feel like I need to encourage myself to step out of my comfort zone and try things that are different than how I was taught to really engage the students and provide valuable lectures. Lectures can be so much more than just standing up front referring to the power point and I am hopeful to try to change that in my teaching.

An Innovative Classroom

We live in a fast paced world where things are ever changing.  As humans, we are forced to adapt to change, learn new techniques, and keep up on the newest trends. Where changes occur, we as dental professionals have to learn the changes yet maintain the original knowledge that we learned. Its like a pyramid as we are constantly building on our knowledge with the changes in practice as well as technology.  As educators, it is part of our role to be innovative, be creative and help students think differently so that they can remember the information you are presenting to them. I can think back and remember certain courses that I’ve taken and try to remember things that I learned and my mind comes up empty.  Thinking back to the the course “Community” in my first year of hygiene school. The instructor spoke very mono-toned, sat in her chair, and read the power point word for word.  She expressed no emotions, did not add anything creative, nor did she tell any personal stories or come up with any strategies to help improve our learning. There is an overwhelming amount of information in the Community course and the instructor continued to teach the course the same way that its been taught for years.  I know personally, I do not want to be remembered for being boring, showing lack of emotion or support and lacking in innovation. To be innovative, does not mean you must have the state of the art equipment or technology. Art, literature, storytelling, humor and technology- assisted learning can all be used in innovative ways (pg 40.) To me, being innovative in the classroom,is to be creative, and adding new ways of presenting material to enhance the course to help meet the students needs. An innovative classroom is not just an instructor reading material off of a power point screen.  We must provide options for the students, give them a variety of activities and assignments, keep up to date on the newest trends and explore possibilities. Educators should share their ideas with each other, even when things don’t “work” or go as planned. Sharing teaching strategies present the opportunity to improve the educational process (pg 45.) Sharing strategies with others will benefit students and faculty alike (pg 47.) Educators may have their own idea of what “works” and what is helping students to learn the course objectives however, I believe it is important to take note of what the students perspectives are. Evaluating the outcome is the final step in the process of implementing an innovative strategy (pg 45.) We always do course evaluations at the end of the semester, in hopes to improve things for the next time we teach the course. However, I think a creative idea would be to add an evaluation in the middle of the semester. Ask students for their opinions, what helped them learn best, and what improvements can be made. Why wait until the end of the course when one could have made improvements earlier to better prepare and help the students. Another thing that could help the instructor evaluate the outcomes would be to have another faculty member or the chair of the department sit in on the course and have another set of eyes evaluate the innovations.  I encourage all educators to take small steps and add new ideas and creativity to the classroom. There is no reason to try ten different innovative strategies all at once and overwhelm the instructor and the students. Once one new idea or presentation works, then add another.  Enhance your classroom one innovation at a time!


All citations come from Bradshaw, Martha “Innovative Teaching Strategies in Nursing and Related Health Professions” Chapter 3 Strategies for Innovation.