Planning Tips

Speakers in the Schools
Tips for Speakers
Preparing for the event
Working with the teacher:
 Confirm the date and time of your lecture and schedule a follow-up conversation one or two
weeks before the event date.
 Communicate your goals for the lecture and ask the teacher about his/her expectations.
 Provide the teacher with an outline or list of the topics and themes that will be discussed during
the lecture.
 Give the teacher a summary of what students should know before the lecture begins.
 Check in with the teacher to find out what time he/she will arrive at the classroom before your
lecture. Some teachers may teach in several different rooms and may not be able to arrive to
your classroom early.
 Verify that the equipment and any materials you need will be in the classroom and ready for
Tailoring your lecture:
 Try to make connections between the topic of your lecture and contemporary examples or
cultural references that students can relate to.
 Look at the vocabulary you use in your lecture. Be aware that your audience could be as young
as 13 years old and adjust your word choice to meet that level.
 Develop some questions to inspire discussion during, at the conclusion of, and even for the days
after your lecture.
 Create a list of resources for further reading for both the teacher and the students.
 Most students don’t respond well to straight lectures or PowerPoint presentations, so it’s
important to include other elements into your presentation. Be prepared to interact with
students through media, visual aids and handouts. Also, be sure to make visual aids large
enough for everyone to see.
During your lecture:
Establish ground rules at the beginning of class.
Ask students what they know about the topic as at the beginning of the lecture as a warm-up
activity. Assume that they know only the basics.
Address students by name. (Ask teachers to use name tags or to provide a seating chart.)
Keep the lights on and walk around the classroom as you lecture. Avoid standing at a podium.
Move closer to students who are whispering or not paying attention.
Give students a little extra time to answer questions. They may need more time to process
Take breaks from lecturing to check in with the students. Ask one or two questions to spark a
short discussion, or ask students to make predictions about what will happen next.
After your lecture:
Provide the class with resources for further reading or investigation.
Remind the teacher of your contact information and invite the class to contact you with further
questions on the topic.
Visit the Speakers in the Schools website and
find the Speaker Admin page to fill out your final evaluation and to submit the reimbursement