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February 18, 2012 / jeffmedic

Rethinking the Lecture

I have a confession, I love preparing and giving lectures. I enjoy researching a topic and then distilling all of the information that I have gathered into one main idea and a few memorable points. That is why it has taken me so long to realize that it is time to rethink the lecture.

The discussion about how best to present information to todays students has been going on for awhile in higher education circles. We are transitioning from a “sage on the stage” model of content delivery to a more active, student centered approach. Bloom’s taxonomy has even been revised to reflect this.

Here are a couple of places where I have learned more about how to make my classes more active and engaging. The first link to to a screencast by Dr. Danielle Hart titled “The Millennial Generation and the Lecture.” Dr. Hart is an emergency physician at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minnesota. The second link is to the website of Dr. Mark Taylor. Dr. Taylor came to speak at my school last month and he gave us a lot to think about. He describes the current group of students as Generation NeXt and he has a variety of suggestions about how to meet the needs of these students.

I have spent entirely too much time over the past few years being frustrated with my students because thy just don’t “get it.” Looking back, I see myself giving a lot of lectures with little student involvement and I wondered why my students got bored. My fear has always been that if I don’t cover all of the material in lectures, the students wouldn’t learn it. This left little time for other activities.

Transitioning to a more student centered, active approach means that my students will have to be prepared to participate when they come to class. I have been telling them for years that they should plan on spending 2-3 hours outside of class studying for every hour they spend in class. I am hoping that by using more case discussions and other active learning strategies, it will give purpose and focus to my students preparation efforts.

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