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All faculty who regularly use activities and discussion sessions in their courses find a need to lecture at some point. Indeed, some faculty use lecturing as their sole teaching/learning strategy (oldest and most commonly used teaching method). Some are very good at it, others are not. Some go so far as to abuse the lecturing format, especially when they present 90 minutes of material in 50 minutes!! What goes into making up a good lecture and when is it best to use it? Not only are lectures an efficient means to give information to a large number of students, they can be used to provide new information that may not be found in the textbook. By observing good lecturers, we can identify effective strategies, i.e., for organization, managing time and keeping students' attention. Fortunately, good lecturers always seem to welcome faculty colleagues to their classes!

Lecturing can be an invaluable teaching tool if (1) you are trying to serve a large community, (2) existing printed materials are out of date or non-accessible, (3) knowledge level of the audience needs customization. However, lecturing is not the holy grail of teaching (1) not all students have their learning needs met by lectures, (2) application of knowledge is usually limited, (3) mastering the art of lecturing takes practice and time, and (4) it limits the ability of the instructor to interact with the students.


  • Bligh, D. A. (2000). What's the use of lectures? (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Broadwell, M. M. (1980). The lecture method of instruction (1st ed.). Englewoods Cliffs: Educational Technology Publications.
  • McKeachie, W. J., Pintrich, P. R., Lin, Y-G., Smith, D. A. F., and Sharma, R. (1990). Teaching and Learning in the college classroom: A review of the research literature (2nd ed.). Ann Arbor: NCRIPTAL, University of Michigan.
  • McKeachie, W. J. (2006). Teaching Tips: Strategies, research and theory for college and university teachers (10th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.


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