When I enrolled for my second year in the University of Asia and the Pacific, I found out that I would have to take certain major subjects this year: Business Communication and Understanding Media and its Content. The latter seemed to me a lot more interesting than the former, so before the school year started, I was really looking forward to the latter. The school year eventually started, and Business Communication turned out to be so much more interesting and fun than Media, the reason behind this being the two teachers used different methods of teaching.
The first one used the discussion method, while the second one used the traditional lecture method. Because of this, a traditional scene on a Friday afternoon in a Media class would be everyone staring blankly at the teacher, wondering what she’s talking about, and whether she herself understands it. Furthermore, everyone is just wondering when the main message will finally be conveyed and when the class will finally get over. Every teacher that we comes across will have his own way of teaching, but the most common teaching method that we would stumble upon, in my opinion is the traditional lecture method.
This method has been passed on from generation to generation, regardless of the improvements of technology. The traditional lecture method is basically made up of a class wherein the teacher talks, and conveys information, while we, the students are just sitting and apparently listening. It is a non-interactive type of setting, and we don’t really get the chance to ask any questions or give our comments and share their thoughts. Almost everyone would have to admit that there is almost zero learning taking place in this classroom basically because the teacher doesn’t know whether or not the students are able to grasp what he is saying.
Based on my experience, because the traditional lecture is presently still used in a lot of classes, the students in those classes are not motivated to study. They don’t see the need to strive to do their best in what they can. I, myself, am that way because if I see that a teacher isn’t really aware of what he is saying, I wouldn’t see the purpose in having to understand what he is saying. Since this is happening, other methods such as discussions should be used for students to really be engaged in the topic being taught.
Though majority of the students today strongly dislike the lecture method, it does have its good side. Lectures can actually be used to stimulate a student’s interest in a certain topic. The teacher may bring up a certain topic in his lecture that interests us, and that would encourage us to do our own research on that topic, and find out more about it. If we don’t really want to do our own research, we could also just try and listen to the lecture, if it isn’t too tedious, because the teacher would most likely be saying everything that we should know about the topic, just not in a very interesting manner.
Lectures also give teachers the chance to expose students to material that is not easily accessible. Let’s say the teacher is sharing what he learned when he was a student. He may have learned about a lot of different information that isn’t really being given much attention to anymore. This information that is shared by the teacher would be quite helpful to us, because that way, we would be at an advantage. We would be getting to know more than everyone else today actually would. Being a student, sitting in a class, learning the same topic for one and a half hours can be very draggy, but if the teacher decides to put a little twist and make the lesson a little more interactive, it would be so much easier to listen. ” From my point of view, despite those advantages of the traditional lecture method, there are also a certain number of reasons why this method shouldn’t solely be the method used for teaching. The first one would be that students are unable to process the information because too much information is given at once.
Students would be experiencing what is now called an “information overload”. Not only will we not understand, but we wouldn’t even be given the chance to ask any questions because the teacher doesn’t really entertain our questions, or if he does ask if we have any questions, he asks very passively, which gives us a hint that he doesn’t really want any questions. Another reason would be that in a lecture class, it is very easy for students to tune out if we’re not interested in what is going on. A college raduate, Pamela Sitaldas, said in an interview that the lecturer has to present his information in an interesting way to hold the attention of the people who are listening. This statement is very true. Being a student, sitting in a class, learning the same topic for one and a half hours can be very draggy, but if the teacher decides to put a little twist and make the lesson a little more interactive, it would be so much easier to listen. In addition to those two reasons, books weren’t readily available back in the day, which was probably why the traditional lecture method was frequently used.
They were hard to find, and expensive. Today, anyone can just walk into any bookstore and ask for a certain book, and more often than not, it will be handed to him within seconds, and the book is actually affordable. Emily Hanford stated in her article, “Rethinking the Way College Students are Taught”, that lecturing never really has been a very helpful method to students, and now that information is so easily accessible, especially with the help of the new technology, what’s the need of lectures?
I agree with her because, wouldn’t students rather have the teacher send us the lesson outline, and just study it at home? What’s the need of even attending class, and being there when everything can just be accessed in the comfort of our own homes? As I have noticed, though the traditional lecture has both pros, and cons, the cons seem to outnumber the pros, which is why an alternative should be used for teaching students. This alternative method would be the discussion method.
This method is basically a way of teaching which is somehow similar to the lecture method, because the teacher still talks, and explains the lesson, but in addition to that, students are free to ask questions, and to state their opinions, and converse with other students, and even with the teacher about their thoughts. This method is interactive, and it would surely be more helpful not only to the students, but also to the teachers. The discussion method is a better alternative because firstly, we, students are able to share our knowledge and ideas, which also makes it more conducive for learning.
This is so because we’re able to get insights from so many different people, and not just the teacher. This way, the students would even be able to help each other understand what it going on. In an article by Craig Lambert, “Twilight of the Lecture”, he said that a certain professor in Harvard University named Mauzer tried to explain a certain topic to his students twice, and after the second time, they were still looking at him without a clue, and then, he decided to do something which he had never before done in his teaching career.
He had told the class to discuss among themselves and he said that though it was chaotic for a while, within three minutes, the class understood what he was unable to teach in ten minutes. He was amazed. This just goes to show that teachers should try to drift away from the lecture method, because it would also be advantageous to them. “All teachers should eventually drift away from the traditional lecture method of teaching because there are so many other possible methods, which would be so much more helpful to the students, not to mention the constantly changing technology. Secondly, as I have observed, the teachers would be able to get feedback from the students, and they would know whether or not the students are on track, and what exactly they are having a hard time with. This would help the discussion be more productive, because this way, the teacher would know which parts he could just breeze through, and which parts he has to dwell on, so that the students would have a better understanding. Thirdly, I figure that this method promotes advance preparation.
The students read ahead of time, and study the topics, so that when it’s time for discussion, everyone is able to contribute, and share our thoughts. Also, this makes us more excited to be able to participate, and see if anyone else has the same insights as ours. Lastly, based on personal experience, I know what is learnt by the students is remembered. It doesn’t go in one ear, and out from the other, because the students have time to process the information that they get. We’re able to study it ourselves until we understand it, and once a clear understanding is obtained, it becomes easier for the students to remember.
As much as possible, all teachers should eventually drift away from the traditional lecture method of teaching because there are so many other possible methods, which would be so much more helpful to the students, not to mention the constantly changing technology. These other methods will possibly make students want to learn, rather than force them to learn. In line with this, most schools should opt to use the discussion method rather than the traditional lecture method for more effective results in teaching students.