“You walk into the classroom, like you were walking onto a yacht.
You’re so vain, you probably think this lesson is about you.
You’re so vain, I’ll bet you think this lesson is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you?”
Apologies to Carly Simon.
Even with high-tech computer bells and whistles, a lecture is a lecture is a lecture. Clothing lectures with cool-looking multi-media gear does not make your talks interactive and learner-centered.
Since Socrates and his poisoned passing, lectures have evolved into the preferred method of instruction. Why? Why is this methodology so prominent? Quite simply, it is easy to use. It is easy on the lecturer who has less preparatory work to do and is able to exert greater control over students.
I do think this traditional tool, in the form of a lecturette, brief and succinct, has its place in the classroom. It can be deployed for relaying housekeeping information, giving assignments, or providing clarifying statements. Indeed, it is quite useful for organization and saving time. It is not, however, fuel for involvement and interactive learning.
Take a sneak look into a classroom. Are students sitting passively watching the instructor in action? Are students secretively on their smartphones or are they participating in learning activities? Is the presentation a monologue or is it a conversation? Are students watching and listening or are they participating and talking?
Get students involved from the get go. You don’t want to waste time getting them to wake up first. Take advantage of their readiness and energy. Lecture (tell) your learners what they are going to do. Then get them doing it. Afterwards, have a lively discussion on why they did what they did.
In sum, Einstein said it best: “All learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”