Tuesday, November 22, 2011


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Just returning from the Lilly Conference on College Teaching, the topic of PREPARATION arose in my sessions and in conversations over those amazing meals. You have to draw the line somewhere in the time and effort you spend preparing for class or a presentation at Lilly. The problem is that my 2 sessions on “Humor & Multimedia” and “Evidenced-Based PowerPoint” were intended to extend your preparation life as you now know it. Adding humor, animation, music, images, and YouTube clips to your PowerPoints complicates everything and requires much more time than you probably have. So what are you supposed to do?


In my 30th year of teaching at Johns Hopkins, I was working 90-100 hours, 7 days a week, to meet obsessive-compulsive requirements. During my last 5.389 retirement years, I've worked 70-80. I bet you're thinking: "Are you CRAZY?" Probably.


I relate to some very unusual people. One is Evin Lysechek, who won the Gold Medal in Men’s Figure Skating at the Vancouver Olympics. He had a reputation for working harder and practicing longer than anyone else. A second is Bob Fosse, iconic, awarding-winning Broadway director and choreographer, who was relentless in rehearsing his dancers. He required dancers to practice the dance routines over a hundred times. A dancer became ONE WITH THE DANCE. The dance was natural and reflexive; he or she didn’t have to think about the steps. They were automatically part of them.


So how should you prepare? Is your presentation part of you or someone else? Do you struggle to remember what comes next? Do you need cues? My next blog will present the challenge. Stay tuned.

COPYRIGHT © 2011 Ronald A. Berk, LLC


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