What's the Use of Lectures?

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Intellect Books, 1998 - Psychology - 316 pages
This work begins by arguing that lectures are most suitable for teaching information, not promoting thought or inspired changes in attitudes, and then goes on to detail factors affecting the learning of information. There is a consideration of the techniques of lecturing, including organization, how to make a point, use handouts, and obtain feedback. The text also moves beyond lecturing to discuss alternatives when they are appropriate.

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I actually have the printed edition of this book, dated 1972. Owing to the critical reviews, I was tempted to open the book again. I'm glad I did
Table 8 shows a variety of teaching methods and
their best use. Only a small set is focused on 'imparting information' . Other primary objectives include Empathy, Problem Solving, Manual skills, Attitude change, 'Critical' thinking, Observation, Vocational skills and so on.
I think that it is a grave disservice to this book to say that it is only about imparting information. It is about far more than that.
Although the book is old, a surprising large % of it is still highly relevant today.
 

Contents

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Page 15 - ... lectures are relatively ineffective for changing attitudes or fostering personal or social adjustment in students. From the point of view of our interest in promoting lifelong learning skills, Bligh's findings on what he calls 'the promotion of thought' are of particular significance. He comments (p 15) that: if students are to learn to think, they must be placed in situations where they have to do so... The best way to learn to solve problems is to be given problems that have to be solved......
Page 111 - ... investigated the question of the various kinds of generality by determining the median intercorrelations among the various means. The upshot of this part of the study was that generality over topics was nonexistent, and generality over groups was about .4. In other words, the interns were moderately consistent in their ability to explain the same topic to different groups on different occasions, but they were not consistent in their ability to explain different topics. This study also dealt with...
Page 90 - ... in the order in which they are most likely to be used by the donor, they can be readily found for use by anybody.
Page 83 - A lecture may seem to be well organized in the lecturer's notes, but have no apparent pattern when delivered. Ideally students should be able to state the intended organization, and how one fact is broadly related to the rest, at any time during the lecture. Firstly, because they need to take notes if the amount of information to be retained exceeds the amount they can remember, and secondly because Gage's study (l968) shows that these links are essential to understanding (see page TI0).
Page 10 - That with the possible exception of programmed learning, the lecture is as effective as any other method for transmitting information...
Page 187 - There does not appear to be a limit to the number of times site movement may occur in a session.
Page 60 - Students also debated the quality and methods of teaching, particularly the lecture system, which was defined by one writer, "as a process by which the notes of the lecturer are transferred to the notebook of the student without ever passing through the minds of either."6' Remembered with special displeasure were those professors, such as Herbert L.
Page 3 - ... What led me to the method was a dissatisfaction with the conventional lecture. Drawing on a variety of research studies Bligh convincingly demonstrates the limitations of the conventional lecture: 'Comparisons of the lecture method with other teaching methods . . . suggests that it ... cannot be used on its own to promote thought or to change and develop attitudes without variations in the usual lecture techniques
Page 111 - ... of words per minute, and so on. The variables that discriminated between the five best and the five worst lectures on Yugoslavia were then tried out on the other set of five best and five worst lectures on Yugoslavia to see if they still discriminated. Those that survived this first crossvalidation were then tried out on the best and worst lectures on Thailand. At the last accounting, two characteristics of the lectures had survived this kind of validation and cross-validation procedure. These...

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