Forum to explore value of lectures as a teaching tool

The McDougal Graduate Teaching Center will present its 13th annual Spring Teaching Forum — this year, titled “Let’s Talk Lecture!” — on Friday, April 1, in Rm. 211 of the Hall of Graduate Studies, 320 York St.

The center helps prepare graduate students to participate in the classroom as teaching fellows and future faculty members. Its programs encourage thoughtful experimentation with both traditional and innovative methods of teaching.

“Lecture is the dominant mode of pedagogy in higher education, despite compelling empirical evidence in favor of more active approaches to teaching,” write the forum organizers. “In this forum, we will explore this apparent paradox, and why that matters to our students. Is there more to lectures than what the data suggest? If so, what is it, and can it be harnessed or learned? If not, then why do lectures persist?”

The forum’s panels will bring together teachers, administrators and education experts. The questions that will be considered include: If there is such a thing as a great lecture, what makes it great? What is the relationship between the lecturer and the lecture? Are there purposes for which lecture is perfectly suited? And, are modifications, such as active questioning or the use of technology such as “clickers” enough to offset deficiencies of an uninspired lecture?

Admission to the forum is free, but those interested in attending should register in advance. For a complete agenda and registration information, click here.

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