Teaching Methods to Master Responsive Lectures

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I love Renaissance poetry. I couldn’t wait to teach it. I knew my students would love my 18-hour slide show presentation on Renaissance poets. Twelve minutes in to class 41 out of 43 students were sleeping (the other two were playing video games). No matter what I tried, they wouldn’t wake up. I continued teaching because the principal walked in for his yearly observation. Four minutes later, he was asleep.

I took a nap.

When I awoke, everyone was gone, and the principal had left a note on my desk:

Dear Mr. Donne:

You’re fired. I recommend you try new classroom teaching methods as your current methods are ineffective. Your lectures are horrible. I recommend you try lecture-teaching methods centered on learning styles–when you find another job.


Mr. Spenser

I have yet to find another job and I can no longer afford to golf. With my free time I decided to post these lecture methods to prevent you from getting fired:

Feedback and Guided Lecture

These different methods allow you to tell your principal that you use teaching methods centered on learning styles, and you don’t even have to lie:

  1. Feedback Lecture
    • Assign reading and provide students with an outline of the lecture notes prior to the lecture.
    • Lecture for 10-15 minutes.
    • Divide students into groups for 15-20 minutes.
    • Assign each group a discussion question related to the material.
    • Continue the lecture.
    • Discuss the groups' answers as a class.
    • Repeat, if necessary.
  2. Guided Lecture
    • Provide students with a list of lecture objectives (copying them makes a good warm up activity.).
    • Instruct students to put away their writing instruments and listen.
    • After 15-20 minutes of lecturing, instruct students to write down everything they remembered,
    • After 5-minutes, put them in groups of 3-4 and have them discuss what they remembered.
    • Help students fill in missing notes.

Responsive and Pause Procedure Lecture

  1. Responsive Lecture: Devote a class period to answering student-generated questions.
    • The questions must be open ended.
    • They must be related to the unit of study.
    • Students must specify why they think the question is important.
    • The teacher answers as many questions as possible.
    • Another option includes the use of white boards.
  2. Pause Procedure Lecture
    • Deliver a 20-minute lecture.
    • Stop.
    • Have students exchange notes with another student.
    • Fill in missing information (on their own notes), or
    • Instruct students to stand up and face a partner.
    • Students quiz each other for one minute.

I learned many of these techniques at an in-service my principal forced me to go to. The presenter’s name was Julia Thomason. Here’s a link to her stuff. If you click it, make sure you come back right away and leave a comment about how these methods worked for you.


  • Teaching experience.

This post is part of the series: Effective Teaching Methods

Work smarter not harder.

  1. Effective Teaching Methods
  2. Strategies for Reading Expository Texts
  3. Techniques and Ideas for Teaching Drama
  4. Teaching Methods on How to Lecture without Losing Control of the Class?
  5. Design Your Own Homework Rubric