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Twenty Terrible Reasons for Lecturing by Graham Gibbs - eBook

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Description

A number of reasons commonly given for lecturing and claims commonly made for the efficiency of lecturers are examined for their basis in empirical evidence and common sense. Most of these claims are found to be somewhat weak. It appears that lecturing takes place rather more often than can be reasonably justified. The real reasons for the popularity of lecturing amongst lecturers are then examined. Of the twenty reasons for lecturing examined here, the first nine have little substance and the last eleven are avoidable.

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Detailed Description

A number of reasons commonly given for lecturing and claims commonly made for the efficiency of lecturers are examined for their basis in empirical evidence and common sense. Most of these claims are found to be somewhat weak. It appears that lecturing takes place rather more often than can be reasonably justified. The real reasons for the popularity of lecturing amongst lecturers are then examined. Of the twenty reasons for lecturing examined here, the first nine have little substance and the last eleven are avoidable.

The dominant teaching method in many Universities is still lecturing and the ratio of lectures to all other teaching methods can be as high as 2:1 and occasionally no teaching method other than lecturing is used at all.

Is this reliance on lecturing an effective way for Universities to achieve the educational objectives they set themselves? Is this reliance on lecturing an efficient use of the lecturer's time and energy and of students' time and energy? Does it give students a rich and rewarding educational experience?

I believe the evidence to be quite overwhelming that the answer to these questions is no. But lecturing is strongly defended by many. In this paper I will take nine of the most defensive arguments I have come across and examine them. I will then go on to ask why these arguments are clung to, and examine eleven of the real reasons why lecturing is so common.

 

First published as G.Gibbs Twenty terrible reasons for lecturing, SCED Occasional Paper No. 8, Birmingham. 1981.

About the author

For 17 years Professor Graham Gibbs contributed to Oxford Brookes' reputation for excellent teaching. He was Head of the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development at Oxford Brookes University, and subsequently Director of the Oxford Learning Institute at Oxford University. He retired in 2007, after a career in which he founded the Improving Student Learning Symposium and the International Consortium for Educational Development in Higher Education. Graham's national and international efforts to develop university teaching have been recognised with a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy, an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University and an Honoris Doctoris Causa from the University of Utrecht.