After many years of sitting through undergraduate lectures, I’m ready to give my definitive criteria for what makes a good lecturer. I’ve never lectured, but I know what I like!
My three criteria are these: confidence, enthusiasm and empathy …
Nothing ruins a lecture faster than the thought: this person doesn’t know what they’re talking about. We’ve all experienced the frustration of being taught the wrong thing, and then having to go back and relearn something. Lecture courses take a lot of work: notes, exercises, summaries. I want to know that my hard work will be rewarded, that when I am confused, it is just me. If I just keep working and thinking, the fog will clear. If the lecturer lacks confidence, it sends the message that my confusion may just be a result of the lecturer’s confusion. The fog may never clear, because the fog is in the mind of the teacher. I might as well get a good textbook and teach myself. (more…)