The Durability of Teacher Lecturing and Questioning: Historical Inertia or Creative Adaptation?

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

The lecture is 800 years old (Lecture). Teachers questioning students is millenia-old.

Yet thesestaples of instructional practice in K-12 and higher education, whilecriticized–often severely by pedagogical reformers–are alive and well in charter schools, regular public schools, and elite universities. Are these ways of teaching simply instances of traditional practices that stick like flypaper because they have been around for a long time–inertia–or have these practices changed with the times because they are useful ways of communicating knowledge and learning?

LECTURE

Lecturing has been panned by pedagogical reformers for decades. Over and over again, critics have said that lectures are inappropriate because students forget the facts and learn better when they interact with teachers. Furthermore, with so many high-tech ways of presenting information, prepared talks are obsolete. Yet lecturing remains the primary way professors teach undergraduate courses, high school teachers present information, gurus and officials across business and government…

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