Course: Postgraduate Certificate - Tertiary Level Teaching
Module: Selecting appropriate teaching/learning methods
Page: 6 - Lectures and similar expository techniques

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Lectures and similar expository techniques

Although the term 'lecture' is normally used in the context of tertiary education and training, we will take it to cover any situation in which a teacher or instructor talks to (or at!) a class of pupils, students or trainees. Despite a plethora of other teaching methods being available, the face-to-face expository talk or 'lecture' still holds a central position at many levels of education, and will undoubtedly continue to do so for some considerable time to come.

Strengths
  • Can be very cost-effective in terms of staff/student ratio.
  • Strong in achieving lower-cognitive and some affective objectives.
  • Popular with many teaching staff.
  • Most students expect lectures (even when not benefiting from them much).
  • Useful when large numbers of students need to receive the same information at the same time with explanations and briefings.
  • Useful for providing large groups of students with a shared experience (eg dramatic, memorable).
  • The cultural norm in many countries.
Weaknesses
  • Highly dependent on skill of lecturer.
  • Not good for higher-cognitive or most affective objectives.
  • Not suitable for psychomotor objectives.
  • Not useful for developing learners' communication or interpersonal skills.
  • Little student involvement, therefore little feeling of 'ownership' of learning.
  • Pace controlled by teacher, therefore does not allow for different learning rates.
  • Difficult to cater for mixed-ability groups.
  • Most lectures are much longer than students' concentration spans (not much more than 20 minutes, on average).
  • Not suited to all learning styles.

See if you can think how you could use lectures and similar expository methods in your own teaching - or think why you could not use them


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