Small Changes in Teaching: The First 5 Minutes of Class

This article confirms that Harvard University offers some of the most engaging and interesting classes on any topic at all! Several of our students had shared with us that their lessons at Harvard had engaged some of these techniques being shared by the Chronicle. In fact, the first paragraph of this article already introduces the concept of “hook”, an important concept in writing and presentations that’s commonly not taught in high schools around the world.  What are these 4 changes that we can see in the best classes?

1. They open with a question

Just as several training gurus such as Tony Robbins or T. Harv Eker opens his training sessions with questions to engage the audience, classes at Harvard often do this too, to keep your mind engaged with the material at hand, instead of wandering around in social media. Even some of the best speeches engage the audience right away with a question. These classes, by starting with a question, sets the frame and tone for the class to be both effective and engaging.

2. What did we learn last time

Classes at Harvard frequently review prior course material in order to build upon existing knowledge. This simple review of what was done in the previous lesson not only gives continuity to the knowledge being transferred in class, but also activates the memory cells in each student, giving the student a lasting impact on taught content. In particular, this enables the student to fully internalise and utilise the information gleaned previously.

3. Reactivate prior learning

In a liberal arts education, students are taught to use information from several sources, and synthesize the information to make it their own, unlike traditional rote learning which focuses on educating students in specific disciplines. Where the world today requires knowledge from multiple fields in order to break new ground, several Professors make sure that they discuss prior learning and grounding of students to ensure new material learned can continue to shape the students’ learning by challenging old assumptions and models, which might not be relevant today.

4. Write it down

This is a favourite of Harvard professors, particularly in writing classes, as this allows both reflection and internalisation of concepts from memory, as well as practice in articulating ideas effectively and efficiently. This constant exercise of putting thoughts to paper allows quicker learning and internalisation of new knowledge for students, so that they can carry their experiences through their academic and adult life.


Looking for a higher education institution that incorporates some of the learning tips that make classes exciting? Contact us to find out how we can help you get into Harvard University, a place where you can rediscover the joy of learning, and secure a bright future at the same time!

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