The Value of a Lecture

Baptiste Alchourroun

An opinion piece in the NY Times speaks to the value of lecturing. In a world where we encourage active learning and student-based learning and group work, it may seem that the lecture has become an ancient teaching method. In fact, the article quotes a Harvard physicist who declares that “it’s almost unethical to be lecturing.”
But the editorialist suggests that lecturing is essential for teaching the basic life skills of comprehension and reasoning.  And I agree with Molly Worthen on this…students today have difficulty focusing. There are so many distractions in the classroom, at home – everywhere. A lecture forces students to slow down, turn off technology and listen.  Lecturing helps students to understand concepts and make connections in their learning. To listen to a lecture is not passive learning, particularly if the student takes notes. I really enjoyed reading this editorial, and I think it’s a worthwhile read for all instructors – especially those who feel pressured to always “entertain” their students.


To read the full editorial:


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