Link: Teach To Learn: The 5 Minute Lecture

By Suzi Alkonis

Suzi Alkonis


Not everything in a class should be or needs to be student discovery.  Sometimes I just need to tell them something but I struggled for a long time to do it effectively and in a timely manner.  Then I discovered the beauty of something I came to call The 5 Minute Lecture.  I just stumbled onto it one day in lesson preparation.  Here is how it works:


1.    The lecture goes no more than 5 minutes. I appoint a student to be the time keeper and commission her to stop me at 5 minutes and not a second longer (I have never gone over).

2.    I speak in a regular pace – it is not rushed to squeeze things into 5 minutes.  And during the lecture I am the only one that can speak.

3.    I will have outlined some part of the text to lecture on – a chapter or so that the class needs to be exposed to – and that is the basis of the lecture.

4.    The students have to have the text open so that they can follow along and mark things.  Obviously they need a pen and paper handy.

5.    I tell them that during the lecture I will highlight the information they need to be aware of and pose some questions for them to chew on – they need to mark the text and take notes as necessary.

6.    Their last assignment is to come up with one question related to the lecture and text so that after the lecture is over (no more than 5 minutes) they can start asking questions.  Sometimes they will not have a question but just a comment or thought.  That too is acceptable.


When I give the timekeeper the nod she and I start together.  I will have practiced it once or twice beforehand so I know I will keep within the time and still say all I need to say.  The lecture becomes the basis for that class period and perhaps one or two more.  If done right it exposes the class to information and serves as a tease to get them to wonder more. And the students generally enjoy it because it is short and effective.


I only use the technique 3-4 times per semester because I don’t want it to become stale but when used well it is a wonderful tool to get things going.

Source:: LDS Seminary Teacher Group

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