PIDP 3260 Week 6 Blog

Featured image by John Powszedny 2008

Summary of Chapter 6 “Lecturing Creatively” (Brookfield, 2015) – My comments in bold italics

  • Often, lecturing methods mishandled by some teachers does not mean the method as a whole is inherently flawed
  • Contrast between lecturing and discussion;
    • Lecturing combines moral sensitivities of Caligula and democratic impulses of Stalin – Funniest statement in the chapter
    • Using discussion only forces teachers to choose between mutually exclusive options
    • Discussion leader can manipulate – Counterfeit discussions (Paterson, 1970)       Reminds me of the US presidential debate monitors. Which reminds me, I need to update my prediction. Old whatshisname is tied with Hillary at the moment.
    • Two methods should be seen as symbiotic
  • Lectures unifying characteristic is sustained periods of teacher talk:
    • May be highly sequential to the higher concepts or begin with concepts and work backwards to previous understandings
      • Students look for clarity and cues that stress important points
    • May be improvised
      • Theatrical, debate, problem of the day
  • Purpose of lectures:
    • To establish a broad outline of a body of material
    • To explain, with frequent examples, concepts that learners struggle to understand
    • To introduce alternatives, perspectives and interpretations
    • To model intellectual attitudes and behaviors you wish to encourage in students – This is relevant to me when I am teaching safety and best practices of the trade
    • To encourage learners’ interest in a topic – This is relevant to all instructors
    • Clarity, goals, connections to previous learning
  • Characteristics of helpful lectures (Race, 2001; Brown and Race, 2002; Hepner, 2007)
    • Use a variety of teaching and communication processes
    • Are clearly organized so students can follow the thread of the lecturer’s thought
    • Model the learning behaviors expected in the course
  • Use a mix of teaching and communication approaches
    • Deliberately introduce periods of silence
    • Introduce buzz groups into lectures
      • What is the most contentious statement you’ve heard so far in lecture today?
      • What is the most unsupported assertion you’ve heard in the lecture so far?
      • What assumptions do you see as underlying the arguments made so far?
      • What’s an example of theory A?  – I really cannot see this being practical in one of my lectures. Maybe a lab 
  • Lecture from Siberia – part of the classroom furthest away from the teacher’s body (Moscow to Siberia)
  • Use spatial separation for “speaking in tongues” ie different viewpoints
  • Break lectures in 10-15 minute chunks that deal with separate ideas – Good idea
  • Use clickers and other classroom response systems
  • Social media – No thanks. I have too many other things to do than Twitter updates on my class
  • Organize lectures so students can follow the lecturer’s train of thought
  • Provide scaffolding notes (summaries of main headers) – Good idea
  • Give clear verbal signals (Bligh, 2000)
    • Global signals – for new material or change in direction
    • Key point signals – most important points
    • Local signals – sub-points
    • Aside signals – branch into point not central to main themes
    • Example signals – tell students that an idea will be illustrated
    • Meta-review signals – tell where you are in the lecture lesson plan  – Very important to be mindful of. Sort of like steering the class. Keeps the instructor and learners on the same path
  • Modeling learning behaviors
    • Begin every lecture with a question or questions that you’re trying to answer
    • End every lecture with a series of questions that your lecture has raised or left unanswered
    • Deliberately introduce alternative perspectives
    • Introduce periods of assumption hunting
  • Lecturing done well can provide students with a solid foundation of understanding that can then be extended or critiqued in discussions and assignments.
  • Well situated presentations can be critical to students’ development as learners

Final Thoughts on Chapter 6:

  • In my curriculum, the main themes are facts and not really debatable. Some of the ideas presented in this chapter are directed towards humanities or social studies. 
  • However I did agree with some points, such as beginning each lecture with a question and the signals.
  • I also agree that modelling attitudes in the classroom is relevant. Speaking from my experience, I want to be an example of safety and trades practices for the students to emulate.


Image by John Powszedny 2016

In the News: Loss of Accreditation

My predicted winner of the US presidential election, old whatshisname, had a little school called whatshisname university. Its website is down. Unfortunately whatshisname wasn’t allowed to call it a university or something like that. It made the news.

For more information on how to get rich, you could buy the book. For 28 bucks.  It’s yuuuuuge.

Closer to home, Trinity Western University lost its law school accreditation with the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC), the body governing lawyers in Ontario. This was due to the university having students and instructors sign a covenant banning homosexuality and extra-marital relations.

Anyways, the university appealed.

And the university lost the appeal.

Ontario represents over a third of Canada where the students’ credentials will not be recognized. Next stop, the Supreme Court of Canada. Still waiting for the BC and Nova Scotia appeal decisions.

Lawyers fighting lawyers over lawyer accreditation. The legal bills must be legendary.

For an alternative viewpoint, I found the below blog. Note that The Wintery (sic) Knight’s 2011 political map of Canada calls the NDP communists and the Liberals socialists. Just an educated guess – the Wintery Knight will vote for whatshisname.


Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher – On Techniques, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Paterson, R. (1970). The Concept of Discussion: A Philosophical Approach. Studies in Adult Education, 1(2), 28-50.

Race, P. (2001). The Lecturer’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Learning, Teaching and Assessment. London: Kogan Page.

Brown, S., Race, P. (2002). Lecturing: A Practical Guide. Sterling VA: Stylus.

Hepner, F., (2007) Teaching the Large College Class: A Guidebook for Instructors with Multitudes. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Bligh, D.A., (2000) What’s the Use of Lectures? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s