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Lecturing

In his best-selling book, What’s the Use of Lectures? (available in the CELT Library), Donald A. Blight identifies what a lecture does and does not do well: “Lectures teach information...they are not as good as discussion for getting students to think or develop their attitudes, without variations of the usual lecture techniques.” He goes on to outlines that lectures are “relatively ineffective for inspiring interest in a subject” and “relatively ineffective for personal and social adjustment.”

Why, then, has the dominant form of teaching in higher education been the lecture? And what can we do to improve it? Lectures are effective for delivering information to large audiences. But in order for a lecture by itself to be effective in that transfer, the lectures have to be well-organized, the speaker must be engaging, and any visuals or handouts must directly engage with the process of learning the materials presented. And, a lecture should be accompanied by any number of active learning techniques that can be integrated into large classroom settings, such as smaller group discussions, problem or project-based learning, or other interaction via technology.

 

Resources

PDF on effective lecturing from the IDEA Center: http://ideaedu.org/sites/default/files/IDEA_Paper_46.pdf

If you scroll down, there are excellent suggestions on using technology to make lectures more interactive: http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/lecturing/

Learn to Lecture from Harvard: http://bokcenter.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k1985&pageid=icb.page29696

Essential Considerations for a good lecture: http://www.vcu.edu/cte/resources/nfrg/11_02_effective_lecturing.htm