lecture methodThe lecture method is just one of several teaching methods, though in schools it’s usually considered the primary one. It isn’t surprising, either. The lecture method is convenient and usually makes the most sense, especially with larger classroom sizes. This is why lecturing is the standard for most college courses, when there can be several hundred students in the classroom at once; lecturing lets professors address the most people at once, in the most general manner, while still conveying the information that he or she feels is most important, according to the lesson plan.

There are just as many disadvantages to the lecture method as there are advantages, though. In this guide, we’ll learn the characteristics of the lecture method, both its pros and cons, and provide some practical alternatives for instructors who don’t think the method fits their teaching philosophy.

Learn some of the best teaching methods for a younger audience in this guide. Or, learn how to become a better teacher by understanding the goals of learning with this course.

What is the Lecture Method?

The word lecture comes from the Latin word lectus, from the 14th century, which translates roughly into “to read.” The term lecture, then, in Latin, means “that which is read.” It wasn’t until the 16th century that the word was used to describe oral instruction given by a teacher in front of an audience of learners.

Today, lecturing is a teaching method that involves, primarily, an oral presentation given by an instructor to a body of students. Many lectures are accompanied by some sort of visual aid, such as a slideshow, a word document, an image, or a film. Some teachers may even use a whiteboard or a chalkboard to emphasize important points in their lecture, but a lecture doesn’t require any of these things in order to qualify as a lecture. As long as there is an authoritative figure (in any given context) at the front of a room, delivering a speech to a crowd of listeners, this is a lecture.

Now, you might feel that this method sounds pretty one-sided. If you think so, you’d be one of the many people who believe the lecture method is a poor way of teaching. Before we get into the cons, though, let’s explore why the lecture method has been used for as long as it has, and what value educators have found in its ways.

Advantages of the Lecture Method

The lecture method has a few advantages that has kept it as the standard approach to teaching for so long. Below is a list, followed by some descriptions of each of these.

Disadvantages of the Lecture Method

What’s funny about the lecture method is many of the pros listed above could actually be seen as cons, as well. Many don’t see the nature of the lecture method as helpful in the least, and you’ll find the explanations as to why listed below.

Alternatives to the Lecture Method

Despite the complications that come with the lecture method, there are ways to make its pros and its cons work to your advantage. See the list below.

If you’re struggling with making the lecture method work for you, you might benefit from this course on public speaking. You can also find additional public speaking training in this course.

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