Start Every Class with a Clear Agenda

Every business communication instructor knows the benefit of agendas in meetings—we teach it! But how many of us provide students with agendas for our own courses? While a class is not a business meeting, presenting students with a clear, visible agenda at the beginning of every session is one of the best methods instructors can use to help students gain the most from each day’s lesson.

Making an agenda needn’t take a great deal of time. It’s a simple document, containing a list of tasks for the day, including topics to be covered, discussion arising from those topics, and activities to support learning objectives. In fact, research indicates that adding learning objectives to the agenda may even help motivate students, yet another reason for using this pedagogical strategy.

Whether you create a daily agenda from your lecture notes or lesson plans, you should always ensure that it’s clearly visible to students. If teaching in a classroom, project the agenda or write it on a white board. If teaching online, include the day’s agenda on your course LMS or post it so that as students enter the learning space, they can view the day’s structure.

A well-defined agenda offers many benefits to both students and instructors:

  • Students see that the instructor is prepared and ready to teach, which contributes to instilling respect for their teacher.
  • The group is made to feel welcome and comfortable.
  • The tasks on the agenda are linked to course goals and illustrate how they will be attained, aiding students in making the connection between what they learn and what they do in class.
  • Both instructor and students keep organized and on task.
  • Students know which materials they’ll require, offering them a few moments before class begins to retrieve those items.

The following are some tips for creating and sharing your daily agendas with students:

  • Post the agenda so it’s easy to see.
  • Review the agenda with the class, explaining how the day’s activities link to homework, assignments, or tests.
  • Be specific about why and how the activities support course goals and how those goals will relate to students’ lives outside the classroom.
  • Make sure the agenda clearly defines when and if students will be expected to actively participate.

The daily agenda is one of the best teaching tools instructors can use to help everyone stay organized, plan ahead, and manage time to maximize productivity. Give it a try this term, and let us know how it works!

 

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