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First Political Science Lecture


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I'm a 1st-semester PhD Student in Political Theory, and the professor for the course that I'm TA'ing this semester will be at APSA next week and asked me if I'd like to give the lecture next Wednesday.  After asking around a bit and hearing nothing but urging to do it, I told her yes.  Does anybody have advice on giving a first lecture?  Anything I should keep in mind or plan for?  This course is primarily for freshmen or student who have no experience in political theory, so very introductory in nature.  Thanks!

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Wow. That's a tall order/a bit unusual on your first day of class as a first year. I have a few pieces of advice:

1. You are (most likely unless you have public speaking experience) going to talk too fast. Remember to slow down.

2. Have a plan for what you want to/will do during the 50 minutes/whatever you lecture for. Just a simple outline is a great aid.

3. Ask the students questions and try to engage them. Most students enjoy classes more when they don't just have to sit there but get to be active.

4. Depending on the size/nature of your class you might want to consider one or two activities that they can. Think-share-pairs are usually easy and effective.

5. Have some sort of hook/interesting puzzle in the beginning. It will catch their attention (hopefully)

Good luck!

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The professor should have something more than a topic on the syllabus for you to work with. You can ask for his/her notes from the previous version of the class, or a powerpoint if they use one. And by the way if this is the very first class meeting of the semester (your post was unclear about whether this will be the first course meeting overall or the first substantive lecture) you should simply stick to "here's the syllabus, here's what we're going to cover this semester, here are our expectations, any questions?"

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The professor should have something more than a topic on the syllabus for you to work with. You can ask for his/her notes from the previous version of the class, or a powerpoint if they use one. And by the way if this is the very first class meeting of the semester (your post was unclear about whether this will be the first course meeting overall or the first substantive lecture) you should simply stick to "here's the syllabus, here's what we're going to cover this semester, here are our expectations, any questions?"

 

Luckily this isn't the first class, it will be the third session, so they know the professor and know that I'm the TA.  At this point, I haven't gotten any sorts of past notes or any sort of presentation that was used in the past, though we did spend a bit of time while we were going over the syllabus on this lecture specifically, talking about what the aims of these readings are and what the students are supposed to get out of it. That's all I'm going on right now though (that and my knowledge of Mill).

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