Getting the most out of lectures takes time and some experimenting with different ideas. These suggestions in this blog are things I picked up doing my BA Drama and MRes Humanities at Newman and what I have observed others do, which I am grateful for, as their methods have helped me. The overarching theme in this piece is to stress that it can be useful to find our motivation and interests for being in the lectures. Some days it may be you are there because you feel you ‘have’ to be, but a key thing I learned was that even when I felt like I ‘had’ to do the lecture, if I could find a deeper, personal reason for being in a lecture I could learn and engage more effectively. It may be as simple as: ‘I want to learn more on this topic as it will help me in my everyday life’. Just switching your perspective can make a world of difference.
The other 3 suggestions that follow for making the most out of lectures are like leaves growing from the main branch above:
Develop active senses
In lectures it is important to engage totally in the situation. Having a state of mind that can remain present as much as possible will see you listening, observing or tuning into new ideas and possibilities around topics you study. Asking questions about the learning, having discussions and analysing information, are active ways to take what you learn in lectures and begin to put your personal spin on them.
Apply the learning
The second suggestion is to apply the learning in other contexts. This may be a discussion with other people on your course, or with people not on your course and family. Expressing ideas about your learning can help you consolidate what you have come across as you are almost teaching it to someone else. In connection, trying to apply your learning in a work setting or on a placement can be very impactful. Newman to me, always prides itself on connecting theory and practice and I would wholly recommend that, as you get to test your learning and take it from the page or the classroom and refine your knowledge and skills in new settings.
Connect with others in the way that suits you
The last suggestion, is to connect with others. I have been lightly stepping around this one in the above suggestions. But, I place it down here more concretely as I found that connecting with other students on my course, in other courses, with my lecturers and with external organisations had a great impact on my lectures. I felt part of a group with my Drama class doing my BA Drama degree, and the lecturers treated me as a professional and helped me use the lectures to shape my craft as an actor and as a facilitator. By having these connections, I was encouraged and simultaneously would encourage those around me.
I hope these suggestions are useful as you attend your lectures. Making your own methods will always be something I encourage in anyone and then helping others is equally important. I hope your studies go well and please do remember to connect to support mechanism at Newman that can help with your learning. Thank you for reading.
– Wesley Rolston –