Planning a Class
How do I prepare for a session?
It depends a lot on your personal style and what you're comfortable with. You should in any case confirm that the materials are in line with the local cultural norms and legal rules where you're teaching.
Teachers tend to prepare in one of three levels:
1) minimum preparation:
If you're comfortable being spontaneous, and / or have no time to prepare, you can just do the following:
- You simply present the slides as you see them. You should check that the slides are in line with the local cultural norms and legal framework (see above), but otherwise you don't look at them much more in advance.
- Each slide contains detailed notes, including a script with what you should say underneath each slide. You "could" just read out these notes as you teach for the first time.
- Negotiation exercise preparation: you have to get the negotiation case materials to your students when it's time for them to do the exercise. At a minimum you therefore must:
- either print out copies of the case materials, or
- email the case materials to your students,
- or share a link where your students can download the case materials from.
2) medium level of preparation:
If you have a bit more time to prepare for your session, consider doing the following:
- Preview the slides you're going to present and have a quick look at the slides + the script in the presenter notes. What's the one thing you want to communicate on each slide? Any slides that don't make sense to you? Any slides you'd rather take out, and/or change? Now is the time to prepare what you want to say instead, to change slides, or to take them out.
- Read the script underneath each slide to quickly see whether the slide makes sense and to remind yourself of what you're planning to say.
- Negotiation exercise: You have to get the case materials to your students, see the previous step for suggestions on how you can do that.
- (We do not recommend the following approach, but wanted to mention it.) If you have more time, and / or think that it makes sense to do this in a more structured way, you could also hand out case materials in advance. Thus, you could assign students to negotiations before the session starts and assign "Student A to negotiate (as buyer) against Student B (as seller) in negotiation 1", and assign "Student C (as buyer) to negotiate against Student D (as seller) in negotiation 2", etcetera. You could then share the buyer materials with students A & C and seller roles with students B & D before the session starts. This might be useful if you want to give your students more time to read and prepare for the negotiation exercise. In our experience, this isn't necessary and we would usually just give students more time to read and prepare. The disadvantage of this approach is that you can get problems if some students are sick and don't come to the session for some reason. For example, if in the example above students A & C don't come to the session for some reason you now have 2 students left (B & D) who both prepared the role of sellers. They can't negotiate against each other because both of them prepared seller roles and so this can get risky. We prefer to just hand out materials during the session and give students more time to prepare if necessary for that reason.
3) intense level of preparation
If you want to prepare even more, you could expand your preparation by doing the following:
- Follow the guidelines mentioned above and in addition, practice actually presenting each slide. You know what the idea of each slide is, but how are you actually going to say it? Which words are you going to use, and how will you transition from one slide to the next? By practicing out loud each slide a few times you will get more and more comfortable with the slides until they become second nature to you. This will also give you a precise sense of timing, so you know that "by minute X you should be on slide Y" if you want to finish the slides in a certain amount of time.
- Negotiation exercise: You could actually do a "dry run" of handing out the role materials to your students. It can make sense to think about this more carefully and to plan the logistics of this well if you have many students in class. To make an extreme example: if you printed out role materials and you have to hand paper copies out to 500 students it can take you a long time to get these papers out to students. Please see below for some strategies that worked well for us. Distributing materials electronically and separately by role? Maybe simulate the role material distribution by choosing two email addresses that you own, or email addresses of friends and colleagues and simulate sending them the role materials. Anything you forgot or should still add?
What should I teach, and in which order?
We recommend teaching the sessions in order. If your students are very advanced and already have covered the fundamentals of negotiations you might want to skip sessions 1 & 2 and start with session 3. If your students already completed an entire negotiation course, you might want to start them on session 5. You might also want to start with a specific session if you have a particular topic you're interested in.
How can I best distribute the role materials for the negotiation exercises?
See the section above on preparation levels for some key ideas on how you can distribute materials depending on how much time you have to prepare.
However, we wanted to share some experiences we've had when distributing materials.
Do you have a lot of participants who need to get paper copies? You need a plan for how to get the materials out efficiently or your students will get impatient and annoyed because they're wasting their time, waiting for the materials. Here's one approach that worked for us in the past:
- create 2 piles of the role materials and put them at the front of the classroom. Check the slides you have for each session. You'll see that the slide with the participant assignment always has 1 role on one side (in yellow), and 1 role on the other side (in green).
- Put out the 2 piles in front of the classroom in the same way. Stand where your students will sit and make sure that "the pile matches the slides". You can then tell your students when you get to that slide: "Please come to the front and pick up your role materials from one of these piles. Which pile? Have a look at the slide. If your role is on the left and in yellow, take materials from left pile with yellow colour, if your role is on the right and in green, take materials from right pile with green colour." You then just have to make sure your piles are actually aligned with the slide and remind your students of what they need to do.
- We have managed classrooms of up to 100 students this way and it has always worked quite well and efficiently.
How long will each session take?
This is really difficult to say and depends a lot obviously on your teaching style and your students. We estimate the following:
- absolute minimum amount of time needed / session = 90 minutes (not including breaks)
- maximum amount of time you should plan / session = 180 minutes (including breaks)
If your sessions are longer than 180 minutes, you could just start with the next session.
What if I run out of time? What if the session is over but I'm not finished with my slides yet?
No need to worry about this. Your students don't know what slides you still had planned to show them, so no need to panic about this. If you're teaching again another session, you can just continue the next session where you stopped. If this was your last session you could maybe share the remaining slides as pdfs via email, WeChat, or provide a download link?
Alternatively, you can also just summarise what you would still say just before the session ends, but not show all the remaining slides. This way you can just pick the 1-2 key ideas you would still cover, but not talk about them in quite as much detail as if you were showing each individual slide.
What if I have too much time? What if my slides are done but I still have XX amount of minutes left for this session?
A few things to consider:
- Just begin the next session?
- Let out students earlier?
- Let students reflect on what they've learnt. One question you could ask them is: "What are one or two things you learnt today?" A variation on this question could be "What are one or two things you've learnt today that you can use in your next negotiations? How precisely will you implement one or two learnings from today's class in your next negotiation?"
- You can then tell them the following:"Spend 2-3 minutes and write down what you've learnt. Then turn to your neighbour and tell them about your learnings. We will then come together as a class and you can share with your colleagues what you've learnt."
- This can take up anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes and students typically find this time incredibly rewarding.
There is no need to worry about this at all. Just have fun with it!
What kind of classroom equipment do I need? I don't have a projector and can't show slides. Can I still use this course?
Absolutely! You can adapt the course materials to suit your needs. We have seen this course being taught in classrooms with no projectors, no slides, and very minimal infrastructure. Instructors then just adapt the materials to suit their needs.
Can I edit the materials somehow?
Yes, absolutely. We share the course materials open source and you are free to change them to suit your needs. We encourage you to change the materials as needed to better suit them to your local culture and specific audience.