Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.
Are your students really sleeping, or just not responding? In my
experience, that's two different things. I have _very_ passive students,
who typically don't respond aloud, yet absorb the discussion and can
write or talk to me one-on-one about it. After all these years, I've
learned not to fight it. There are always a few who will keep a
discussion going, which the other students can listen to. Saying
something like, "That's an important point; write that in your notebook"
keeps the quiet ones on alert.
What you need are some strategies to promote active participation of
_all_ students. I often give mine a handout or some specific questions
to answer in their notebooks so that they must all listen to the
discussion and observe the slides. For instance, note which pictures
make use of diagonal lines to create a sense of motion or excitement. My
students in the past have especially enjoyed an iconography unit (the
study of symbols), with which they can note the symbolic use of a variety
Anyone who puts his head down during slide viewing is 1) reminded that
"This is for your benefit, too;" 2) asked if he wants me to kiss him
goodnight (which usually wakes him up); 3) invited to a private viewing
of the slides during lunch or after school.
I remember all too well how bored and sleepy the art history survey
classes made me, in a pitch-black room with the prof in the back droning
on and on for two hours. So, I try not to show more than about ten
slides at a time before we go on to something else.
Hope this helps.