Many of my academic clients feel pulled between giving their all in the classroom and
preserving time for their own research. Some professors feel they are falling down on their responsibility to their students if they do not fill every minute of the class period with lecture. In fact, research on teaching and learning (pdf) supports the idea that students learn best when they have the opportunity to actively engage with the material being taught. Teaching smarter means you spend less time preparing lectures and expect more interaction from the students. You put in less time, and they learn more.
To get started, look at your subject and see if you can find a way to make it more participatory.
This could mean asking students to take turns preparing the handout and leading the class discussion, or having students work in small groups to discuss how the material they are learning in class will be relevant to their future work lives. Some academics even find ways to have their students help with their research as part of the students’ learning. Of course learning activities need to be well-thought out to achieve the results you desire. But done right, active learning strategies can save you time while improving learning outcomes.
For an overview of active learning including a variety of activities to engage students in a lecture course, read the chapter on teaching in The Coach’s Guide for Women Professors or visit the University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT).