Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Prepare & Deliver Your Class

In this last segment of teaching a writing class or workshop, I wanted to go into the specifics of preparing for and teaching your class. This arena, far above anything else you do, will bring in future participants.

I like to think of preparing for a class like outlining a book. You decide when and where your information is going to be placed so that you have a guideline for your presentation. And as I mentioned in my first post on teaching, you need to teach in a way that all participants enjoy learning. That mean hand-outs won't do if you also have in your class learners who like active participation with others or who enjoy music as a way of stimulating their thinking.

Photo By: Cristiano Betta, courtesy of Flickr
Remembering this, write a rough draft of how you would like your class to go. Don't get too detailed, just sketch it out; brainstorm if you will. What do you want you class to include? How much of it will fit in the time you've allotted?

Once that is done, you'll want to tighten your ideas and get clear about your purpose. What do you want the take away value to be for your writers? What do you hope they will learn? Both of these questions will help you to get your ideas to a solid state.

Practicing your delivery is great, especially if you have a way to record both your voice as well as your speech. Personally, I hate to do this, because I have a fear of cameras, but those who take the step up find areas in their delivery that they can improve upon.

If you're using PowerPoint, make sure the slides are simple. Too much on the individual slides will bore your participants. The best slides offer phrases, even pictures and video that add to your presentation or help writers to remember key points.

Photo by: PawPaw67, courtesy of Flickr
Use index cards if you need to to remember material; it's best to use as little paperwork as possible so that you're not reading your presentation. If you've memorized your material, that's even better.

Give space for asking and answering questions. Don't be in hurry to get through key points in the presentation. Adjust your presentation as you need to depending on the needs of the class. End your class with a question and answer period.

When you prepare and then deliver a class, no matter how expert you will become, there will always be mistakes. Count on them. Perfection is not a reality, and you will make fumbles in your presentation every time you give it. It may be that you forget to tell a particular story, or you find yourself nervous and stumble over a word or two. Do your best, and learn to laugh at your mistakes. Your audience will remember you for your realness with them, and your ability to continue forward no matter what.


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