How to explain complex ideas in a simple way

Explaining complex ideasAs teachers and authors, we are often faced with the challenging task of conveying information that, although second nature to us, is completely foreign to the students learning the material. Several experienced textbook authors share their best practices for explaining complex ideas in a simple way, including the use of metaphors, visuals, procedures/processes, and hands-on multisensory activities to improve learning success. [Read more…]

How to teach effectively without spending all of your time preparing: Five tips

For all professors, teaching is an important part of our job. However, for most professors, it is not the only important part of what we do. Most of us have other obligations and we risk putting those in jeopardy when we spend all of our time preparing for class and grading.

The good news is that it is possible both to be an excellent teacher and to avoid spending all of your time preparing for class, teaching, and grading.

I have been teaching at the university level for over a decade, and have learned that there is not a direct relationship between the numbers of hours you spend preparing for class and the quality of the class. Instead, after you reach a certain threshold, you receive greatly diminishing returns on your time investment into teaching. In fact, if you spend too much time preparing for class, it may end up not going so well because you have way too much information to share with students, and they (and you) end up feeling overwhelmed. [Read more…]