Beyond the Lecturing Debate

Teaching & Learning in Higher Ed.

Detail of Cicero Denounces Catiline by Palazzo Madama (1889)

I consider all of the following propositions accurate:

  1. Lecturing represents a time-honored tradition of passing on knowledge through speech.
  2. Lecturing gets in the way of learning, big time.
  3. Lecturing serves as a convenient punching bag for advocates of other approaches.
  4. Nothing would benefit higher education more than for more teachers to give up lecturing as much as they do and explore other approaches.
  5. Lecturing—as one tool among many—can be practiced well or poorly and serves some purposes better other than others.
  6. Lecturing as a subject of debate offers an opportunity to clarify some things about teaching.
  7. There is no such thing as lecturing. There are many different things that get lumped together under that one term.

If these statements appear contradictory, that may be less because they are than because we often hear only the pro- and anti- positions in debates about lecturing. Recently, I voiced a more nuanced perspective in TheAtlantic.com (“To…

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Beyond the Lecturing Debate