A love that dare not speak its name?

Lecture at LTH LundThe long-maligned lectures holds sway (if not student attention) in most higher education institutions, and gives many HE professionals their job title.

In her article ‘Lecture me, really’ Molly Worthen bravely pledges her troth to this time-tested practice, so unjustly spurned by modish educators.

In her article ‘Lecture me, really’ Molly Worthen misguidedly chains herself to this archaic practice, so wisely rejected by enlightened educators.

Pieces in defence of the lecture appear regularly – and are met by a celebratory “hooray” from its avid and loyal admirers, and by dismay and bewilderment from its detractors.

Whichever tribe you belong to every vindication or condemnation offers valuable opportunity to revisit dearly held assumptions about the way we teach and the way in which students learn. Engaging in debate about divisive practices like the lecture can reinvigorate our engagement with the big questions: what can a University education do, how should it do it, and how do we as educators and students as learners best achieve our goals?

So, maybe not lecture me, really, but disagree with me, absolutely.

This post was one of our advent learning and teaching treats. To explore all the other treats click here.

2 thoughts on “A love that dare not speak its name?

  1. I think, it works different for different types of learners and also for different topics. Mrs. Worthen explicitly talks about humanities, a field, which I think is still best related via lectures and discussion. As it mostly deals with the processes that ocurr inwardly.


  2. I absolutely agree with you that it works differently in different contexts and for different learners. I remember back to my own experience of lectures studying English Literature, and the best lecturers sparked a desire to interrogate, discuss and debate texts and ideas. For me, the most learning happened when I happened to disagree with the interpretations which were being presented to me – but how much more learning would have happened had I had an opportunity to bring the debate out of my head and into the world – who knows? I guess, studying in the humanities I spent rather too much time in my own head, and communicating only one-to-one with my lecturers via essays that no-one but me and them ever saw. Through the process of changing fields, and becoming and learning to be a ‘teaching and learning person’ I see how much richer and deeper learning can be when it’s constructed as a joint enterprise.

    But, as I said in my post, each time I read or think about the lecture and it’s role and function in contemporary HE – it makes me understandings accumulated through my different experiences, as student, teacher and now as an academic developer.


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