Teaching Resources

Teaching with Lectures: Overview

Resource Overview

Summary of tips to improve class lectures

Below is an outline of the tips discussed in detail in Teaching with Lectures. Also, visit our other lecture related resources listed under “Supporting Material.”


  • Create a comfortable, non-threatening environment.
  • Include opportunities for active learning.
  • Organize the lecture like a good speech.
  • Prepare notes that will serve as a “road map” rather than a script to be read verbatim.
  • If you are team-teaching, talk with co-instructors or assistants in instruction often to ensure coherence among lectures, discussions sessions, and office hours.
  • Review and practice the lecture before class begins.
  • If you plan to use audiovisual aids or instructional technology, do so with care and preparation.

During the Lecture

  • Interact with your students.
  • Provide students a clear sense of the day’s topics and their relation to the course as a whole.
  • Show passion for the subject.
  • Focus on communicating with your audience: speak clearly; move around the room, and use gestures to engage student attention.
  • When asking questions, do not be afraid of silence.
  • Demonstrate respect for, and interest in, student ideas and questions.

After the Lecture

  • Rethink, retool, revise.

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Trying to cover too much material in one class session.
  2. Not including opportunities for questions or active learning.
  3. Waiting until the last two minutes of class to ask and answer questions.
  4. Not asking a mix of questions, i.e. questions that test comprehension and questions that require more complex levels of thinking or that have more than one correct answer.
  5. Answering your own questions or asking more than one question at once.
  6. Assuming students are learning the material if they are not asking questions.
  7. Assuming that students will identify and understand the important points of each lecture.
  8. Reading your notes or the content of your slides when using slide-ware such as PowerPoint.
  9. Not looking at the students when you are lecturing; looking only at your notes or the chalkboard.
  10. Filling the chalkboard or slides with too much information.

Have suggestions?

If you have suggestions of resources we might add to these pages, please contact us:

ctl@wustl.edu(314) 935-6810Mon - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.