Although guest speakers have been a part of our curriculum for several decades, in recent years we have adopted a system that allows us to maximize the benefit of these speakers for our students. We provide learning opportunities before, during, and after a seminar to enhance students' scientific comprehension. Our system begins with students reading peer-reviewed literature relevant to a future seminar. In class, students work cooperatively to answer guided questions about the article, which serves as a basis for a discussion of the article among the entire class. This preparation facilitates students' understanding, their engagement, and their awareness of effective presentation techniques. Finally, small-group discussions with the speaker can provide students knowledge about their curriculum, awareness of additional opportunities, and insight into the nature of science. Our system thus provides a series of learning opportunities that ensure student engagement with the material multiple times, resulting in a deeper understanding of scientific research and effective mechanisms to communicate it.
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Vol. 81 • No. 8