Lecturing Creatively

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When I think about the phrase “lecturing creatively”, immediately my thoughts run to graphical or artistic techniques you can add to lectures. Brookfield’s interpretation is much different. To him, lecturing creatively is a strategy to cater to a variety of different learning styles, experiment with different communication processes, model learning behaviours, and are clearly organized to show the lecturers rationale.

Of the techniques that Brookfield outlines there are two that I find particularly engaging.

First is deliberate use of silence. Silence can be powerful in presentations and lectures. It not only gives people a chance to think a bit, but it has a strange engaging appeal. A good example of this is some of the speeches Barack Obama gives. His use of pauses and occasional silence is masterful and feels like it draws you in closer.

Silence and pauses are a hard thing to master. I know I certainly have troubles with it. Whenever I have a platform to speak–be it lecture or even answering a question–I feel like I need to occupy this space with noise. Learning to master silence is a challenge because it feels so awkward. I suppose one needs to find a way to get comfortable in this awkwardness to succeed—something I need to work on!

The other technique is using “Buzz groups”. Last week I had a great experience with this as a student. I recently launched a leadership development program. As part of this program, we are inviting in expert facilitators occasionally. The session we had last week was 100% online administered. It was a synchronous environment—and yes we had buzz groups (we called them breakaway rooms). This was an incredibly engaging technique, not to mention a BIG surprise for an online class!

Whenever creativity is mentioned, people automatically associate this with the arts. I’ve always held the belief that once you reach a certain level of expertise in an area you will demonstrate creativity in how you approach problems. Lecturing creatively is a good example of this.