‘Objectives’ should sound simple too !!!

Clear and not intimidating objectives.

With the new guidelines, the standard of the micro-teaching sessions have gone up significantly. Earlier the talks were more like micro-presentations due to lack of guidelines to the speakers. I enjoy those sessions a lot because I get to refresh my memory in so many different fields…physics, bio, history, geography and so on :). Also sometimes I get to know some unusual thought provoking perspectives from the participants. For instance, in one of the micro teaching session a student raised a concern that the objectives of the talk should not be disclosed upfront. Initially I was surprised by his view and asked his reasons for thinking so. He said that he often felt that the objectives, especially in the engineering or science talks, have so many new/ complex terminologies that the audiences tend to get scared by those. He was of the view that the objective would be disclosed at the end of the talk while concluding. For a while, I did understand his point of view and also realized that it had happened to me too at times when I was an undergraduate. Professors used to walk into the class with a list of unknown terminologies and I used to indeed feel intimidated. One can lose interest on seeing so many unknown terms by the fact that he would have to learn or understand so many things in the lesson. But I think this factor is more to do with how the objectives are written. Now I think that the objectives, apart from being measurable and precise, should also be presented to sound simple and easy. This may be tricky in some situations where there are many new terms introduced to the audiences. May be if nothing seems to simplify the objectives, the speaker can always assure the audiences verbally that the things may look complicated but are easy to learn. Good luck everyone with writing effective yet simple objectives 🙂 !



The Centre for Teaching Excellence welcomes contributions to its blog. If you are a faculty member, staff member, or student at the University of Waterloo (or beyond!) and would like contribute a posting about some aspect of teaching or learning, please contact Mark Morton or Trevor Holmes.

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