Why do my professors write on a board? Haven’t we crossed the 2000s and embraced the electronic slide presentation, the multimedia formats, and technology to teach? Note, none of these are bad, but there’s a reason the board and pen’s and paper are powerful tools.
Early on in graduate school, I was fortunate to be taught by Zvonko Vranesic. Not only did he encourage me to understand the world better, he was an inspiration as someone who thought about many things – among his accomplishments included being an International Master of Chess, no less.
He gave me two teaching tips that I have kept in my arsenal as I work towards becoming a good teacher. Related to the question, he told me why you should teach using the board when you can.
Pardonne-moi. Lectures are oral presentations with the intention of teaching you materials in a particular topic. In modern day universities, though, the lecture is more appropriately called class-time in which a number of activities directed toward learning can happen including a traditional lecture. What is a lecture, therefore, can mean both a traditional presentation or it can mean the time for a university or college class.
Class-time with a student-centered approach
One thing we have learned about learning, or at least, think we have learned about learning is that a fundamental part of learning is the based on the learner doing stuff – called student-centered learning. Therefore, under this theoretical model, many schools are moving away from the idea of lecture towards using class time active engagement.
Active engagement can include classes that use various approaches including:
A lecture is as much an opportunity to learn as any other, but it comes with challenges. In your future, you will be asked to sit and listen to someone for greater than 30 minutes, and then be expected to retain important aspects of that discussion. It might happen in meetings, online presentations, or other forms, but it will happen. The lecture is a great way to practice learning from listening and seeing alone.