Two Minute Pause in Lectures

Pacing lecture material so that students can really understand it, not just copy it blindly into their notes is always a challenge. One of the easiest ways to support this, and to enable students to ask more meaningful questions is to use the two minute pause procedure.*

1. Set an alarm (or ask a TA) to stop you every 10-15 minutes. (It’s OK if you are in the middle of a topic.)
2. Tell students, “Turn to your neighbor and discuss the last bit of lecture. Summarize it for each other, discuss confusing things, tell each other what was important.”

If you can, allow students to ask questions after this time. If you can, leave the lectern and wander to listen in — you can then address any questions or mistakes you heard in discussion.

*Research has shown that using the two-minute pause procedure (even without taking questions afterwards) increased student grades in university courses by 10%. [Ruhl, Huhges, and Schloss. Using the Pause Procedure to Enhance Lecture Recall. Teacher Education and Special Education: The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, 1987 Vol 10 (1) pp 14-18.

Want to do this in your class? Here’s some slides to help you motivate students: GroupDiscussionTwoMinPauseSupportSlides