Lecturing: The path of least Resistance

I don’t mean to lecture about lecturing, but I found myself sliding into that trap recently and wondered why. I’ve always been a student-centered learning instructor; give the students what they need to complete and activity and get them doing it. If they need something they will ask…Google.  Oh yes, and first pre-assess them through conversation to understand their backgrounds and group more advanced learned with the inexperienced.

I’m not the only teacher in the classroom.

Lecturing is straight forward and can be planned well in advance. There are few factors that change so very few hiccups in every class. Student-centered learning takes a lot of improvisation along the way, but the foundation can be planned well in advance. This type of instruction seems easier from a learners perspective, but as an instructor it can be draining – you have to be attuned to levels of expertise and engagement. The rewards are great.

My background is ESL, so let’s take that for an example.

First, I spoke with learners and found out many of them are in the industry already but just need a piece of paper to get them to the next level. Okay, they know their stuff already, at least in practice.

Second, I’d put them in groups, give them five slips of paper with various sentences on them. These sentences reflect the grammar focus of the day. Ask them to find the incorrect ones (they are tricky so they would need some discussion).

Turn it into a competition.

Have each group explain which one is wrong and why. The can ask you or Google to help them figure it out. Google has all the answers too.

Have them teach the rest of the classroom their assigned grammar point. You can fill in anything was left out, or clarify some vague points.

That’s it, three hours is done.

Recently I had experienced users demonstrate various features of Collaborate Ultra, features they were strong in or already used. Along the way there were questions that I had to answer. Everyone had a chance to teach and everyone learned something new.

This is the way instruction is going, so we should all give it a try, or if you have, don’t slide back into old lecturing habits like I almost did.

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