Lecture. For many years, the lecture method was the most widely used instructional strategy in college classrooms. Nearly 80% of all U.S. college classrooms in the late 1970s reported using some form of the lecture method to teach students (Cashin, 1990). Although the usefulness of other teaching strategies is being widely examined today, the lecture still remains an important way to communicate information. Used in conjunction with active learning teaching strategies, the traditional lecture can be an effective way to achieve instructional goals. The advantages of the lecture approach are that it provides a way to communicate a large amount of information to many listeners, maximizes instructor control and is non-threatening to students. The disadvantages are that lecturing minimizes feedback from students, assumes an unrealistic level of student understanding and comprehension, and often disengages students from the learning process causing information to be quickly forgotten. The following recommendations can help make the lecture approach more effective (Cashin, 1990): 1. Fit the lecture to the audience
2. Focus your topic - remember you cannot cover everything in one lecture 3. Prepare an outline that includes 5-9 major points you want to cover in one lecture 4. Organize your points for clarity
5. Select appropriate examples or illustrations
6. Present more than one side of an issue and be sensitive to other perspectives 7. Repeat points when necessary
8. Be aware of your audience - notice their feedback
9. Be enthusiastic - you don’t have to be an entertainer but you should be excited by your topic. (from Cashin, 1990, pp. 60-61)
Case Method. Providing an opportunity for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-life experiences has proven to be an effective way of both disseminating and integrating knowledge. The case method is an instructional strategy that engages students in active discussion about issues and problems inherent in practical application. It can highlight fundamental dilemmas or critical issues and provide a format for role playing ambiguous or controversial scenarios. Course content cases can come from a variety of sources. Many faculty have transformed current events or problems reported through print or broadcast media into critical learning experiences that illuminate the complexity of finding solutions to critical social problems. The case study approach works well in cooperative learning or role playing environments to stimulate critical thinking and awareness of multiple perspectives. Discussion. There are a variety of ways to stimulate discussion. For example, some faculty begin a lesson with a whole group discussion to refresh students’ memories about the assigned reading(s). Other faculty find it helpful to have students list critical points or emerging issues, or generate a set of questions stemming from the assigned reading(s). These strategies can also be used to help focus large and small group discussions. Obviously, a successful class discussion involves planning on the part of the instructor and preparation on the part of the students. Instructors should communicate this commitment to the students on the first day of class by clearly articulating course expectations. Just as the instructor carefully plans the learning experience, the students must comprehend the assigned reading and show up for class on time, ready to learn. Active Learning. Meyers and Jones (1993) define active learning as learning environments that allow “students to talk and listen, read, write, and reflect as they approach course content through problem-solving exercises, informal small groups, simulations, case studies, role playing, and other activities -- all of which require students to apply what they are learning” (p. xi). Many studies show that learning is enhanced when students become actively involved in the learning process. Instructional strategies that engage students in the...
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