The Lecture a.k.a. Medieval Torture Device (Part 1 of my blind leap-fingers crossed)

Ahhhhh, yes, the lecture. What would an education blog be without opinions on pedagogy? The concept of the lecture can be traced back to the Medieval university, when books were as hard to come by as people literate enough to read and interpret them.

An authentic lecture would be to read aloud directly from the text, while students copied what they heard (sound familiar?) If you are an educator you have most likely employed it, if you have been a student you have most definitely endured it. Whether it is accompanied by the shrill “skreEeEeE” of uncooperative chalk on a board or a slow, mind-numbing death by slide show, you know the drill. Facts curated by the instructor, partially digested and regurgitated unto the passive, sometimes comatose, students, to later be re-regurgitated onto a piece of paper worth 25% of their grade.

Yes, I am completely guilty of exacting this special kind of torture on my students. The lecture is no crime, or anything to be ashamed of, it is comfortable and safe. It also has function and purpose when executed properly. Against that sane, rational, complacent voice in my head, I chucked it out the window. I am now trying to find that magic combination of tradition and revolution that will set my students on fire (in the good way, of course) to learn about the world around them, past and present. And to provide them with the skills they need to navigate the real world.

Revolutionaries

I am fascinated and inspired by teachers like Bruce Lesh, author of “Why Won’t You Just Tell Us the Answer?

Ken Halla of World History Teachers Blog,

Jennifer Carey of Indiana Jen,

These teachers, and many more, have revolutionized the teaching of history and have turned learning into active passionate participation. This is my goal.
Check out this excellent interview of Bruce Lesh from the Atlantic
“High School History Doesn’t Have to be Boring”