I love teaching lecture courses, but then, when I was a student, I loved taking lecture courses. I was a sucker for lectures from my first day of college, because I was already infatuated with the beauty of words, and a good lecture is nothing if not an art form. Efficient communication it may be, but a lecture can no more be reduced to the delivery of information than a Ferrari can be reduced to fuel injection. A lecture aims at imparting not just what is true but what is beautiful.
But, when it comes to craft and polish, seminars cannot compete with lectures. Nor can they compete with the challenge of keeping an audience’s attention. Meet them halfway, and today’s students will turn off their iPhones and pay attention. – Minding the Campus (via Arts and Letters Daily)
I agree: a well-delivered lecture is a beautiful thing. It’s still a useful tool for disseminating information. Old-fashioned person that I am (and, quite frankly, as a ham that loves to perform) I don’t understand the beating the form takes in educational circles. So faddish, sometimes.
Update: I should have been more clear in my original post. I don’t think lectures superior to seminars, or labs, or on-line courses, or whatever. My introduction to medical school pedagogy – which is very, very recent – has confused me, a bit. Lectures seem a reasonable way to teach groups of students in certain circumstances. I don’t understand the need to make everything everywhere the same because of the latest paper. I am, however, new to the area and may be misunderstanding an awful lot. Pile on in comments if you think that I am!