When we rely on lecture to cover more content, we’re doing students a disservice. Although lecture can be engaging and even useful, lecture alone cannot give students real opportunities to learn, retain, and transfer the ideas, skills, and practices we’re trying to teach.
At the International Literacy Association annual conference this past weekend, author, veteran teacher, staff developer, nationally known consultant Cris Tovani was awrded the Adolescent Literacy Thought Leader Award. Cris is the author of I Read It But I Don’t Get It, Do I Really Have to Teach Reading? So, What do They Really Know? and most recently is coauthor of No More Telling as Teaching. Since the announcement, many educators, authors, and friends have taken to Twitter to express their excitement and congratulations to Cris:
Adapted from No More Telling as Teaching: Less Lecture, More Engaged Learning by Cris Tovani and Elizabeth Birr Moje.
Why should we care about whether teachers rely on lecture? People have lectured throughout history, and many teachers claim this is the most efficient way to cover content. And, in fact, in and of itself the lecture is not a bad method for sharing information, ideas, or perspectives. Many people share their thoughts with others through lectures.
Because learners can participate in well-framed and well-structured lectures for which they have a clear sense of purpose, it is not the lecture that we challenge but rather a conception of learning that makes the teacher the knowledge disseminator and the students receptacles waiting to be filled. Specifically, we challenge the steady diet of teachers and textbooks (or other media) telling, with students regurgitating what they have been told.