The Pause Procedure in Lectures

Decorative: "Timeout" with the "T" made in the standard football handsign for "timeout"


1. "Pause Procedure" (post) outlines a strategy to "alleviate some common failings of lectures."

"The lecture approach assumes students learn auditorally, and research shows even the most motivated student's concentration declines after 10-15 minutes."

  • "Lectures require students to play passive roles and assume all students need the same information at the same pace."
  • "By using three two-minute pauses during the lecture (about every 13 to 18 minutes), the students are given the chance to clarify, assimilate, and retain the information presented during the prior mini-lecture."

2. Pause Procedure and Active Learning

This strategy can be used "to carry into the traditional lecture a variety of active and collaborative learning structures."

  • "One example is for the instructor to initiate the pause by asking students to turn to their neighbor and summarize the main ideas the instructor has just presented."
  • Researchers "suggest alternating 10-15 minute mini-lectures with informal group work that addresses some aspect of the mini-lecture (e.g., specific homework problems, non-graded quizzes, quickwrites, student-student discussion, note comparison)."
  • "An initial exercise could consist of new or previously assigned questions that relate to the upcoming lecture."
  • "The final exercise may be problem-solving (and finished at home), more note comparison, or a quickwrite (e.g., List three major points in the last lecture and one point you're confused on.)."

3. See the following: