Is lecturing dead? If not, should it be?

Having been in the ed tech field for 15 years or so, I have heard the death of the lecture proclaimed as a matter of fact, not faith. “Nobody wants to hear lectures, no one wants to listen to someone else talk. There are better ways to teach and learn.”

I would not say that lecturing is the only way to convey information, and I am a big believer in hands-on, constructivist learning, as in my LEGO robotics classes. However, I’m not willing to give up the lecture entirely. As a history teacher, I’ve found it sometimes the most helpful way to deliver content and also to engage students. This may get my ed tech card revoked, but there is a place and time for the sage on the stage. For instance, helping students to see the “big picture” can be more effective by lecture. I do that, and then give them some hands-on, PBL work once they know what’s happening in the country before the Civil War, for instance.

Even in robotics, I’ve found it necessary to at least explain the basics of gears, for instance, though supplemented with visuals and practice. ┬áIt’s a lecture of sorts, though not very long.

The truth is there are experts on subjects, and if they can speak in an engaging and thoughtful and humorous fashion, I would listen. As would most of my students.



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