Middle and high school teachers use a variety of methods to instruct students. One of the most tried and tested methods of delivering information is lecturing. Lecturing allows teachers to efficiently deliver information to students, but it can lead to passive, bored students. For some students, hearing a teacher lecture on a topic is the best way for them to learn, but for others, this method may not be as effective.
Delivery of Information
The University of Maryland Center for Teaching Excellence claims that a good lecture has many benefits. Lectures allow teachers to efficiently present overviews, summaries or analyses of topics, which can lead to thought-provoking class discussions. Lectures are adaptable and can easily be changed to meet the needs of students as the teacher progresses through the class. Good lecturers also use their personality and presentation skills to motivate students to want to learn more about a topic on their own.
Lack of Interaction
Lecture is a form of direct-instruction, where the teacher is at the center of attention and the students are the audience. Lecturing is not usually as interactive as some other forms of instruction, such as cooperative learning. This lack of interaction may not work well for some middle and high school students, especially those with shorter attention spans or who are easily distracted. Good lectures should engage the audience with question and answer sessions or opportunities to contribute thoughts and opinions.
Students who are auditory learners benefit from hearing new information, while students with other learning styles may not respond well to it. Research shows that above-average students benefit from lectures the most, but there are benefits for below-average students as well. In a study of over 6,000 8th graders, students had higher standardized tests scores if their teacher spent more time lecturing than on problem-solving activities. Gains were largest in math and science, where scores were 10 percent higher in classes with more lecture time.
Lack of Feedback
Students who do no learn as fast as others may fall behind during lectures, forget the information because they cannot process it fast enough, or become frustrated and lose focus on the lesson. Teachers also cannot get quality feedback from the entire class to ensure students have learned the material. If students were working in small groups in a cooperative learning setting, the teacher could spend time visiting with each group to evaluate their work, but while lecturing this ability to check-in with students is limited.
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