Sunday, 15 December 2013

Professor Frank Furedi's tribute to the traditional university lecture

(image by Wikipedia)

University of Kent professor of sociology Frank Furedi has written a fine tribute to the traditional university lecture.

Here is an excerpt:

To its detractors, I say this: a lecture is a pedagogic technique. A lecture represents scholarship in action. A lecture given to an undergraduate audience provides a disciplinary context for the topic under discussion. And more than any other academic experience, the lecture provides students with meaning about the subject under discussion.
Ideally, this is accomplished through a combination of intellectual mastery and communicating with the passion the pursuit of scholarship demands. What students gain from a lecture is much more than an introduction into new facts and ideas. At its best, it is a total experience. And years later what students recollect from that unforgettable lecture are not its details but a performance that validated their academic experience.
Of course, many lectures are far from memorable, and listening and taking notes requires commitment and effort. But so long as the lecturer is well prepared, the format should provide students with the basic principles of their discipline. It also illustrates the fact that even knowledgeable academics struggle to communicate those ideas.
I have always regarded a lecture as the fundamental ritual of academic life. It is the one experience that has the most potential of forging a community of learners. It creates a common intellectual experience for students and allows otherwise solitary undergraduates to become part of a continuous conversation. This is a conversation that is difficult to achieve through tutorials, seminar groups or chance encounters.

The entire article is well worth reading. You will find it here.

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