Confessions of a Converted Lecturer

March 8, 2010

Link: Confessions of a Converted Lecturer

This is an absolutely excellent talk, which I can’t recommend highly enough.

It’s not just that he talks about the problems with lecturing and the benefits of using other methods. What’s phenomenal about this is that he actually collects solid data, and scientifically argues his point. Anyone who’s interested in teaching, and especially those who are interested in teaching math or science should watch this talk.

It does make me consider my own teaching as well. I’ve long been an advocate of using other methods besides lecture, and have found ways to have my students really work stuff out for themselves in my differential equations class, for example. And yet, I haven’t really done as much as I could be doing in this context. I suppose the reason for this is that I feel like there’s no way to go over all the material that I have a curricular mandate to cover without lecturing. Also, the book we use is pretty weak. But now I wonder—surely there’s a better way.

I’m looking forward to the day when I can teach outside the auspices of any curriculum, and let the students’ learning take precedence over every other consideration.

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